Skip to main content

Full text of "The slave in Canada"

See other formats

^M m 


3 9999 06544 603 9 


>.• v/.v • Qs9 

$1 IPs H 



■K I H hbS B9 


1 1 1 


I-'.- v . .. I 
1 1 ■ 

'» .V. ■ '. 




I H 


J! li 











LL.D,; F. R. Hist. Soc; F. R. Soc. Can.; &c, &c. 



Reprinted from The Journal of Negro History, Vol. V, No. 3, July, 1920 







LL.D.; F. R. Hist. Soc; F. R. Soc. Can.; &c, &c. 



Reprinted from The Journal of Negro History, Vol. V, No. 3, Juiy, 1920 

-I 1 • ) ) •> • 1 J ) •» ■) 




1920 / / *7 / 





it. ifxi, 


I • • • 

a • • •• 

« • • * • • » i 


When engaged in a certain historical inquiry, I found 
occasion to examine the magnificent collection of the Cana- 
dian Archives at Ottawa, a collection which ought not to 
be left unexamined by anyone writing on Canada. In that 
inquiry I discovered the proceedings in the case of Chloe 
Cooley set out in Chapter V of the text. This induced me 
to make further researches on the subject of slavery in 
Upper Canada. The result was incorporated in a paper, 
The Slave in Upper Canada, read before the Eoyal Society 
of Canada in May 1919, and subsequently published in the 
Journal of Negro History for October, 1919. Some of 
the Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada and the editor 
of the Journal of Negro History have asked me to ex- 
pand the paper. The present work is the result. 

I have spent many happy hours in the Canadian Ar- 
chives and have read all and copied most of the documents 
referred to in this book; and I cannot omit to thank the 
officers at Ottawa for their courtesy in forwarding my labor 
of love, in furnishing me with copies, photographic and 
otherwise, and in unearthing interesting facts. It will not 
be considered invidious if I mention "William Smith, Esq., 
I.S.O. and Miss Smillie, M.A., as specially helpful. My 
thanks are also due to Messrs. Herrington, K.C., of Na- 
panee, F. Landon, M.A., of London, Mrs. Hallam and Mrs. 
Seymour Corley of Toronto, General Cruikshank of Ot- 
tawa, the Very Reverend Dean Raymond of Victoria, as 
well as to many others of whose labors I have taken ad- 
vantage. This general acknowledgment will, I trust, be 
accepted in lieu of special and particular acknowledgment 
from time to time. 

The chapter on the Maritime Provinces is almost wholly 
taken from the Reverend Dr. T. Watson Smith's- paper on 
Slavery in Canada in the Nova Scotia Historical Society's 
Collections, Vol. X, Halifax, 1899. 

William Renwick Riddell 

Osgoode Hall, 

Toronto, February 5, 1920 


Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

Boston Public Library 


Preface iii 

Chapter I. Before the Conquest 1 

Chapter II. The Early British Period 11 

Chapter III. After the Peace 31 

Chapter IV. Lower Canada 43 

Chapter V. Upper Canada, Early Period 54 

Chapter VI. Fugitive Slaves in Upper Canada 78 

Chapter VII. Slavery in the Maritime Provinces .... 97 

Chapter VIII. General Observations 114 

Index 116 



Before the Conquest 

That slavery existed in Canada before its conquest by 
Britain in 1759-60, there can be no doubt, although curi- 
ously enough it has been denied by some historians and 
essayists. 1 The first Negro slave of which any account is 
given was brought to Quebec by the English in 1628. He 
was a young man from Madagascar and was sold in Quebec 
for 50 half crowns. 2 Sixty years thereafter in 1688, 
Denonville, the Governor and DeChampigny, the Intendant 
of New France, wrote to the French Secretary of State, 
complaining of the dearness and scarcity of labor, agri- 
cultural and domestic, and suggesting that the best remedy 
would be to have Negro slaves. If His Majesty would 

1 For example in Garneau's Histoire du Canada (1st Edit) Vol. 2, p. 447 
after speaking of correspondence of 1688-9 referred to in the text he says of 
the answer of the authorities in Paris: 

1 ' C '6tait assez pour f aire echouer une enterprise, qui aurait greffe sur 
notre societe la grande et terrible plaie qui paralyse la force d'une portion si 
considerable de 1 'Union Amencaine, Vesclavage, cette plaie inconnue sous 
notre ciel du Nord" — "That was effective to strand a scheme which would 
have engrafted upon our society that great and terrible plague which paralyses 
the energies of so considerable a part of the American Union, Slavery, that 
plague unknown under our northern sky. ,} 

a He was sold by David Kertk or Kirke the first English Conqueror of 
Quebec. England held her conquest only from 1629 to 1632, if it be per- 
missible to call Kirke 's possession that of England when he was repudiated 
by his country. Relations des Jesuites, 1632, p. 12 : do. do. 1633, p. 25. Much 
of the information which follows concerning slavery in Quebec is taken from a 
paper in the Memoirs of the Historical Society of Montreal, 1859, De L'escla- 
vage en Canada, written by M. Jacques Viger and Sir L. H. LaFontaine. I have 
made an independent investigation and am satisfied that the facts are truly 
stated. This general acknowledgment will prevent the necessity of particular 

In a local history of Montreal, Memoirs de la Society Historique de 
Montreal, 1869, p. 200, there is a reference to Panis slaves in Montreal in 1670. 


2 The Slave in Canada 

agree to that course, some of the principal inhabitants 
would have some bought in the West Indies on the arrival 
of the Guinea ships. The minister replied in 1689 in a 
note giving the King's consent but drawing attention to 
the danger of the slaves coming from so different a climate 
dying in Canada and thereby rendering the experiment of 
no avail. 3 

The Indians were accustomed to make use of slaves, 
generally if not universally of those belonging to other 
tribes: and the French Canadians frequently bought In- 
dian slaves from the aborigines. These were called 
"Panis." 4 It would seem that a very few Indians were 
directly enslaved by the inhabitants: but the chief means 
of acquiring Panis was purchase from les sauvages. 

The property in slaves was well recognized in Inter- 
national Law. We find that in the Treaty of Peace and 
Neutrality in America signed at London, November 16, 
1686, 5 between the Kings of France and England, which 
James II had arranged shortly after attaining the throne, 

s ' ' Mais il est bon de leur f aire remarquer qu 'il est a craindre que ces 
negres, venant d'un climat si different, ne perissent en Canada et le projet 
serait alors inutile. " "II est a craindre " that the prospect of "le projet' ' 
being "inutile" was more alarming than that of "ces negres" perishing in 
frozen Canada. 

* The name Pani or Panis, Anglicized into Pawnee, was used generally in 
Canada as synonymous with "Indian Slave" because these slaves were 
usually taken from the Pawnee tribe. It is held by some that the Panis 
were a tribe wholly distinct from the tribe known among the English as 
Pawnees — e.g., Drake's History of the Indians of North America. Those 
who would further pursue this matter will find material in the Wisconsin 
Historical Collections, Vol. XVIII, p. 103 (note) ; Viger and Lafontaine, 
L'Esclavage en Canada cited above n. 2; Michigan Pioneer and Historical 
Collections, Vol. XXVII, p. 613 (n) ; Vol. XXX, pp. 402, 596; Vol. XXXV, 
p. 548; Vol. XXXVII, p. 541. From Vol. XXX, p. 546, we learn that Dr. 
Anthon, father of Prof. Anthon of Classical Text-book fame, had a "Panie 
Wench" who, when the family had the smallpox "had them very severe" 
along with Dr. Anthon 's little girl and his "seltest boy" — "whaever they got 
all safe over it and are not disfigured." Thwaites, an exceedingly careful 
writer, in his edition of Long's Travels, Cleveland, 1904, says in a note on 
page 117; "Indian Slavery among the French was first practised in the 
Illinois Country." He gives no authority and I know of none. 

sBeferred to in Chalmers' Collection of Treaties "between Great Britain 
and Other Powers, London, 1790, p. 328: Pap. Off. B. 25. 

The Slave in Canada 3 

Article 10 provides that the subjects of neither nation 
should take away the savage inhabitants, or their slaves 
or the goods which the savages had taken belonging to the 
subjects of either nation, and that they should give no as- 
sistance or protection to such raids and pillage. In 1705 
it was decided that Negroes in America were " moveables, ' ' 
meubles, corresponding in substance to what is called "per- 
sonal property' ' in the English law. 6 This decision was 
on the Coutume de Paris, the law of New France. 

The Panis and Negro slaves were not always obedient. 
Jacques Randot, the Intendant, April 13, 1709, made an 
ordinance on "the Subject of Negroes and Savages called 
Panis." In this he recited the advantage the colony 
would acquire by certainty of ownership of the savages 
called Panis "whose nation is far removed from this 
country" and that certainty could only be brought about 
through the Indians who capture them in their homes and 
deal for the most part with the English of Carolina, but 
who sometimes in fact sell them to the Canadians who are 
often defrauded of considerable sums through an idea of 
liberty inspired in the Panis by those who do not buy, 7 so 
that almost daily they leave their masters under the pre- 
text that there are no slaves in France— that is not wholly 
true since in the islands of this Continent all the Negroes 
bought as such are regarded as slaves. 

The further recital says that all the colonies should be 
on the same footing, and that the Panis were as necessary 
for the Canadians for the cultivation of the land and other 
work as the Negroes were for the islands, that it was neces- 
sary to assure the property in their purchases those who 
have bought and those who should buy in the future. Then 
comes the enactment "Nous sous le bon plaisir de Sa 

e We shall see later in this work that by the English law, the ' 'villein' ' 
was real property and in the same case as land: also that when Parliament 
came to legislate so as to make lands in the American Colonies liable for debts, 
11 Negroes" were included in " hereditaments' ' and therefore "real estate." 

7 Thus early do we find the Abolitionist getting in his fiendish work — the 
enemy of society, of God and man! 

4 The Slave in Canada 

Majeste ordonnons, que tons les Panis et Negres qui ont 
ete achetes et qui le seront dans la suite, appartiendront en 
pleine propriete a ceux qui les ont achetes comme etant leurs 
esclaves." "We with the consent of His Majesty enact 
that all the Panis and Negroes who heretofore have been 
or who hereafter shall be bought shall be the absolute prop- 
erty as their slaves of those who bought them." 8 

This ordinance was not a dead letter. On February 8, 
1734, Grilles Hocquart, the Intendant at Quebec issued an 
ordinance in which he recited that in 1732 Captain Joanne 
of the Navy brought a Carib slave of his to Canada and 
employed him as a sailor ; that he had deserted when Cap- 
tain Joanne was ready to embark for the West Indies ; and 
that the master had seen and recognized him a short time 
theretofore in the Parish of St. Augustine but on reclaim- 
ing him certain evil-disposed persons had facilitated his 
escape. The ordinance directed all captains and officers 
of the militia to give their assistance to the master in re- 
covering the Carib slave and forbade all persons to conceal 
him or facilitate his escape on pain of fine or worse. 9 

Slavery thereafter tended to expand. The Edict of Oc- 
tober 1727 concerning the American islands and colonies 
and therefore including Canada in the preamble spoke of 
the islands and colonies being in a condition to support a 
considerable navigation and commerce by the consumption 
and trade of Negroes, goods and merchandise, and the 
measures taken to furnish the necessary Negroes, goods 

s This ordinance is quoted (Mich. Hist. Coll., XII, p. 511, 517) and its 
language ascribed to a (non-existent) "wise and humane statute of Upper 
Canada of May 31, 1798" — a curious mistake, perhaps in copying or printing. 

In Kingsford's History of Canada, Vol. 2, p. 507, we are told: "In 1718, 
several young men were prosecuted on account of their relations with Albany 
carried on through Lake Champlain. One of them, M. de la Decouverte, had 
made himself remarkable by bringing back a Negro slave and some silver 
ware. One of the New York Livingstones resided in Montreal and was gen- 
erally the intermediary in these transactions. ' ' The author adds in a note: 
"This negro must have been among the first brought to Canada. " 

9 " A peine d 'amende arbitraire et de plus grande peine si le cas y 
escheoit. ' ' 

The Slave in Canada 5 

and merchandise. It was decreed that only such Negroes, 
goods, and merchandise should be received by the islands 
and colonies as should be brought in French bottoms. 
Very explicit and rigid regulations were made to that end. 

Some of these slaves were too vindictive to be good 
servants. There is given by Abbe Gosselin in a paper in 
the Transactions, Royal Society of Canada for 1900, an ac- 
count of a mutiny of part of the garrison at Niagara in- 
cited by a Panis probably in the service of an officer at the 
post. Some of the mutineers were sentenced to death but 
made their escape while the Panis, Charles, was sent to 
Martinique with a request to the authorities to make him a 
slave and to take every precaution that he should not 
escape to Canada or even to the English colonies. A 
female slave of color belonging to Mme. de Francheville 
who had been bought in the English Colonies set fire to her 
mistress' home the night of the 10-11 April 1734, thus 
causing a conflagration which destroyed a part of the city 
of Montreal. The unfortunate slave was apprehended and 
tried for the crime then and for long after a capital felony. 
Being found guilty, she was hanged June, 1734. 

The increase in the number of slaves made necessary 
some regulation concerning their liberation. September 1, 
1736, Gilles Hocquart, the Intendant already mentioned, 
made an ordinance concerning the formalities requisite in 
the enfranchisement of slaves. Reciting that he had been 
informed that certain persons in Canada had freed their 
slaves without any other formality than verbally giving 
them their liberty, and the necessity of fixing in an in- 
variable manner the status of slaves who should be en- 
franchised, he ordered that for the future all enfranchise- 
ments should be by notarial act and that all other attempted 
enfranchisements should be null and void. 

Slaves unable to secure their freedom by legal means, 
however, undertook sometimes to effect the same by flight. 
A royal decree of July 23, 1745, recited the escape of three 
male and one female Negro slaves from the English West 

6 The Slave in Canada 

India Island of Antigua to the French Island of Guadeloupe 
and there sold. There followed a decision of the Superior 
Council of Guadeloupe that the proceeds of the sale be- 
longed to the King of France and Negro slaves belonging 
to the enemy when they came into a French colony became 
at once the property of His Majesty. To make clear the 
course to pursue for the future, the decree declared that 
Negro slaves who escape from enemy colonies into French 
colonies and all they bring with them belong to His Majesty 
alone in the same way as enemy ships and goods wrecked 
on his coasts. 

With all of this security the ownership of slaves became 
common. In the Registers of the Parish of La Longue 
Pointe is found the certificate of the burial, March 13, 1755, 
of the body of Louise, a female Negro slave, aged 27 days, 
the property of M. Deschambault. In the same Parish is 
found the certificate of baptism of Marie Judith, a Panis, 
about 12 years of age belonging to Sieur Preville of the 
same Parish, November 4, 1756. On January 22, 1757, one 
Constant a Panis slave of Sieur de Saint Blain, officer of 
Infantry, is sentenced by de Monrepos, Lieutenant-Gover- 
nor civil and criminal in the Jurisdiction of Montreal, 10 to 
the pillory in a public place on a market day and then to 
perpetual banishment from the jurisdiction. 

The conquest of Canada begun at Quebec in 1759 and 
completed by the surrender to Amherst of Montreal by de 
Vaudreuil in 1760 had some bearing on slavery. One of 
the Articles of Capitulation, the 47th, provided that "the 
Negroes and Panis of both Sexes shall remain in the pos- 
session of the French and Canadians to whom they belong; 
they shall be at liberty to keep them in their service in the 
Colony or to sell them : and they may also continue to bring 
them up in the Roman religion." 11 

i° 'Canada was at this time divided into three Jurisdictions or Districts — 
those of Quebec, Trois Rivieres and Montreal. 

11 There are trifling variations in the English text in the several versions 
in the Capitulations and Extracts of Treaties relating to Canada, 1797; 
Knox's Journal, Vol. 2, p. 423: Documents relative to the Colonial History of 

The Slave in Canada 7 

Having now reached the end of the French period, it 
will be well to say a word as to the rights of the slaves. 
There is nowhere any intimation that there was any differ- 
ence in that regard between the Negro and the Panis. The 
treatment of the latter by their fellow Indians depended 
upon the individual master. The Panis had no rights 
which his Indian master was bound to respect. Eemem- 
bering the persistence of customs among uncivilized 
peoples, one may conclude that the description given of 
slavery among the Chinook Indians about a century later 
will probably not be far from the mark concerning the 
Indians of the earlier time and their slaves. 

Paul Kane, the celebrated explorer and artist, 12 in a 
paper read before the Canadian Institute 13 in 1857 said: 
"Slavery is carried on to a great extent along the North- 

the State of New York, Vol. 10, p. 1107. That in the text is from Shortt & 
Doughty 's Constitutional Documents 1759-1791, Canadian Archives Publica- 
tion, Ottawa, 1907. There is no substantial difference in terminology and 
none at all in meaning. I give the French version, as to which there is no 
dispute: "Les Negres et panis des deux Sexes resteront En leur qualite 
d'Esclaves, en la possession des frangois et Canadiens a qui lis apartiennent; 
II lour Sera libre de les garder a leur Service dans la Colonie ou de les 
vendre, Et lis pourront aussi Continuer a les faire Elever dans la Eeligion 
Komaine. " 

i- The Province of Ontario is the proud possessor of the entire series of 
Paul Kane 's paintings. 

is Now the Koyal Canadian Institute. The paper appears in Series II 
of the Transactions, Vol. 2, p. 20 (1857). 

The use by the Indians of Slaves is noted very early: for example in 
Galinee's Narrative of the extraordinary voyage of LaSalle and others in 
1669-70 the travellers are shown to have obtained from the Indians, slaves as 
guides. See pp. 21, 27, 43 of Coyne's edition, 4 Ont. Hist. Soc. Papers 
(1903). These Indians were accustomed to take their slaves to the Dutch. 
Ibid., p. 27. 

Still there is not very much in the old authors about slavery among the 
Indians: the references are incidental and fragmentary and the institution is 
taken for granted. Thus in Lescarbot's History of New France, published in 
1609, the only reference which I recall is on pp. 270, 449 of The Champlain 
Society's edition, Toronto, 1914; speaking of the Micmacs the author says: 
"... the conquerors keep the women and children prisoners . . . herein 
they retain more humanity than is sometimes shown by Christians. For in any 
case, one should be satisfied to make them slaves as do our savages or to 
make them purchase their liberty." 

8 The Slave in Canada 

West Coast and in Vancouver Island and the Chinooks. 
. . . The inhabitants still retain a large number of slaves. 
These are usually procured from the Chastay Tribe who 
live near the Umqua, a river south of the Columbia empty- 
ing into the Pacific. They are sometimes seized by war- 
parties but are often bought from their own people. . . . 
Their slavery is of the most abject description: the 
Chinook men and women treat them with great severity 
and exercise the power of life and death at pleasure.' ' 

Kane gives shocking instances of this. He tells of a 
chief who sacrificed five slaves to a colossal wooden idol 
he had set up and says that the unfortunate slaves were 
not considered entitled even to burial but their bodies were 
cast out to the crows and vultures. 

Amongst the French such an extreme of barbarity did 
not obtain. Their law was based upon the civil law, that 
is, the law of Eome, which in its developed form recog- 
nized the slave as a human being. The Eoman world was 
full of slaves. Not only were there slaves born but debtors 
sometimes sold themselves 14 or their children. The crim- 
inal might be enslaved. In early pagan times the slave had 
no rights. He was a chattel disposable according to the 
will of his master who had jus vitce necisque, who could 
slay, mutilate, scourge at pleasure. 15 In the course of time 

!* It will be remembered that the ancient law of Eome, the Twelve Tables, 
authorized creditors to take an insolvent debtor, kill him and divide his body 
amongst them, a real execution against the person more trenchant if not more 
effective than the capias ad satisfaciendum dear to the English lawyer. 

is Everyone has shuddered at the awful picture drawn by Juvenal in his 
Sixth Satire of the fashionable Roman dame who had eight husbands in five 
years and who ordered her slave to immediate crucifixion. When her husband 
mildly ventured to suggest that there should at least be some evidence of guilt 
and that no time should be considered long where the life of a man is in 
question he was snubbed, just as the Roman lady who was expostulated with 
for taking her bath in the presence of man slaves asked "An servus homo?" 
The horrible but pithy dialogue reads: 

"Pone crucem servo. " "Meruit quo crimine servus 
Supplicium? Quis testis adest? Quis detulit? Audi. 
Nulla umquam de morte hominis cunctatio longa est" 
"O demens, ita servus homo est? Nil fecerit, esto. 
Hoc volo, sic jubeo, sit pro ratione voluntas. " 

—Juvenal, Sat, VI, 11. 219-223. 

The Slave in Canada 9 

this extreme power was restrained. Hadrian forbade the 
killing of slaves, Marius allowed the slave to lay an in- 
formation against his master. The prefect at Rome and 
the presidents of the provinces took cognizance of crimes 
against the slave : and Constantine allowed a master to go 
free on killing his slave in chastisement only if he used rods 
or whips, but not if he used sticks, stones or javelins or 
tortured him to death. 16 Hard as was his lot, the unhappy 

"The cross for the slave I" "What is the charge? What is the evidence? 
Who laid the information? Hear what he has to say — No delay is ever great 
where the death of a man is in question. " "You driveller! So a slave is 
a man! Have it your own way — he did nothing. I wish it, that is my order, 
my wish is a good enough reason. " 

The natural death for a Roman slave was on the cross or under the 

16 Constantine also by his Constitution No. 319 provided for slaves becom- 
ing free: the Constitution referred to in the text is No. 326. The best short 
account of slave legislation in Rome which I have seen is in a paper read by 
the late Vice Chancellor Proudfoot of the Ontario Court of Chancery, Feb- 
ruary 7, 1891, before the Canadian Institute. Trans. Can. Ins., Series IV, 
Vol. 2, p. 173. Many of the judgments of Vice Chancellor Proudfoot (vener- 
abile nomen) show a profound knowledge and appreciation of the Civil Law. 

The following is taken from Prof. Sherman's great work Roman Law in 
the Modern World, Boston, 1917. The learned author has laid philosophical 
lawyers of all countries under heavy obligations by this splendid book, as 
noted for its lucidity as for its learning. 

Vol. 1, 69. "To inflict unnatural cruelty upon — and finally to kill — a 
slave was prohibited by Augustus Claudius and Antoninus Pius. Moreover, 
because by natural law all men were born free and equal (see Digest, 50, 17, 
32) the Emperor often restored to slaves the status of a freeborn person. " 

I, 146. "Constantine . . . abolished crucifixion as a punishment; en- 
couraged the emancipation of slaves. . . ." 

I, 150. "... It is regrettable that Christianity did not change other 
parts of the Roman law of persons which ought to have been reformed. The 
chief example of this failure is slavery, which the law of Justinian fully 
recognized. The inertia of past centuries as to slavery was too great to be 
overcome. St. Paul 's attitude towards slavery was to recognize the status quo, 
and he did not counsel wholesale emancipation. But Christianity continued 
the progress of the pagan law along the lines of mercy and kindness, e.g., to 
poison a slave or brand him was treated in later Imperial Roman law as 
homicide, and manumission was made easier; but the Church did not recognize 
the marriage of slaves until over 300 years after Justinian's death." 

II, 434, "In Roman law . . . the slave was a thing or chattel — nothing 
more legally. Slaves could no hold property — slaves could not marry, their 
actual unions were never legally recognized. ' ' 

10 The Slave in Canada 

slave had at least some rights in the later civil law, few 
and slight as they were, and these he had under the Cou- 
tume de Paris, the law of French Canada. 

II, 436, "With the advent of Greek culture and Christianity the harsh 
manners of ancient Kome became greatly altered. " 

II, 828, "One feature of the Lex Aquilia is . . . that it granted an action 
in damages for the unlawful killing of . . . the slave of another man." Inst., 
413, pr; Gaius 3, 210. 

II. 829, ". . . the owner had his option either of suing the culprit for 
damages under the lex Aquilia or of causing him to be criminally prosecuted. ' ' 
Inst., 4, 3, 11 Gaius 3, 213. 

II, 935, "A free person called as a witness could not be subjected to tor- 
ture, but a slave could be tortured." 

The Early British Period 

When Canada passed under the British flag by conquest 
there was for a time confusion as to the law in force. 
During the military regime from 1760 to 1764 the authori- 
ties did the best they could and applied such law as they 
thought the best for the particular case. There was no 
dislocation in the common affairs of the country. When 
Canada was formally ceded to Britain by the Treaty of 
Paris, 1763, 1 it was not long before there was issued a 
royal proclamation creating among other things a " Gov- 
ernment of Quebec' ' with its western boundary a line 
drawn from the " South end of Lake Nipissim" 2 to the 
point at which the parallel of 45° north latitude crosses 
the River St. Lawrence. In all that vast territory the Eng- 
lish law, civil and criminal, was introduced. 3 It is impor- 
tant now to see what was the law of England at the time 
respecting slavery. 

The dictum of Lord Chief Justice Holt: "As soon as a 
slave enters England he becomes free," 4 was succeeded by 
the decision of the Court of King's Bench to the same 
effect in the celebrated case of Somerset v. Stewart, 5 where 
Lord Mansfield is reported to have said: "The air of Eng- 
land has long been too pure for a slave and every man is 
free who breathes it." 6 

1 See this Treaty which was concluded at Paris, February 10, 1763 " au Nom 
de la Tres Sainte & indivisible Trinite, Pere, Fils & Saint Esprit"— Shortt & 
Doughty, Constitutional Documents, 1759-1791, pp. 73 sqq. 

2 What we now call Lake Nipissing. 

3 See the Proclamation, Shortt & Doughty, Const. Docs., pp. 119, sqq. 

* Per Hargrave, arguendo, Somerset v. Stewart (1772), Lofft 1, at p. 4; 
the speech in the State Trials Eeport was never actually delivered. 

s (1772) Loftt, 12 Geo. Ill, 1, (1772) 20 St. Trials, 1. 

6 These words are not in Lofft or in the State Trials, but will be found 
in Campbell's Lives of the Chief Justices, Vol. II, p. 419, where the words are 

2 11 

12 The Slave in Canada 

James Somerset, 7 a Negro slave of Charles Stewart in 
Jamaica, "purchased from the African coast in the course 
of the slave trade as tolerated in the plantations," had been 
brought by his master to England "to attend and abide 
with him and to carry him back as soon as his business 
should be transacted. ' ' The Negro refused to go back, 
whereupon he was put in irons and taken on board the 
ship Ann and Mary lying in the Thames and bound for 
Jamaica. Lord Mansfield granted a writ of habeas corpus 
requiring Captain Knowles to produce Somerset before 
him with the cause of the detainer. On the motion, the 
cause being stated as above indicated, Lord Mansfield re- 
ferred the matter to the full court of King's Bench; where- 
upon, on June 22, 1772, judgment was given for the Negro. 8 
The basis of the decision and the theme of the argument 
were that the only kind of slavery known to English law 
was villeinage, that the Statute of Tenures enacted in 1660, 
expressly abolished villeins regardant to a manor and by 
implication villeins in gross. The reasons for the decision 
would hardly stand fire at the present day. The investiga- 
tion of Paul Vinogradoff and others have conclusively es- 
tablished that there was not a real difference in status 

added: "Every man who comes into England is entitled to the protection of 
the English law, whatever oppression he may heretofore have suffered and 
whatever may be the color of his skin. Quamvis ille niger, quamvis tu 
candidus esses" — and certainly Vergil's verse was never used to a nobler pur- 
pose. Verg. E. 2, 19. 

William Oowper in The TasTc, written 1783-1785, imitated this in his 
well-known lines: 

"Slaves cannot breathe in England; if their lungs 
Eeceive our air, that moment they are free. 
They touch our country and their shackles fall. " 

7 1 use the spelling in Lofft. The State Trials and Lord Campbell have 
"Somersett" and "Steuart." ' 

8 This was in direct opposition to the opinion of Sir Philip Yorke, At- 
torney General (afterwards Lord Chancellor Lord Hardwieke) and Sir Charles 
Talbot, Solicitor General (afterwards Lord Chancellor Lord Talbot) who had 
pledged themselves to the British planters for all the legal consequences of 
Slaves coming over to England. The law of Scotland agreed with that of 

The Slave in Canada 13 

between the so-called villein regardant and villein in gross, 
and that in any case the villein was not properly a slave 
but rather a serf. 9 Moreover, the Statute of Tenures deals 
solely with tenure and not with status. 

But what seems to have been taken for granted, namely 
that slavery, personal slavery, had never existed in Eng- 
land and that the only unf ree person was the villein, who, 
by the way, was real property, is certainly not correct. 
Slaves were known in England as mere personal goods and 
chattels, bought and sold, at least as late as the middle of 
the twelfth century. 10 However weak the reasons given 
for the decision, its authority has never been questioned 
and it is good law. But it is good law for England, for 
even in the Somerset case it was admitted that a concur- 
rence of unhappy circumstances had rendered slavery 
necessary 1 * in the American colonies ; and Parliament had 
recognized the right of property in slaves there. 12 Con- 
sequently so long as the slaves, Panis or Negro, remained 
in the colony they were not enfranchised by the law of the 
conqueror but retained their servile status. 

The early records show the use of slaves. General 
James Murray, who became Governor of the Quebec Forti- 

9 See e.g., Vinogradoff, Villeinage in England, passim. Hallam's Middle 
Ages (ed. 1827), Vol. 3, p. 256; Pollock and Maitland, History of English 
Law, Vol. 1, pp. 395, sqq. Holdsworth 's History of English Law, Vol. 2, 
pp. 33, 63, 131 ; Vol. 3, pp. 167, 377-393. 

i° See Pollock and Maitland 'a History Eng. Law, Vol. 1, pp. 1-13, 395, 
415; Holdworth's Hist. Eng. Law, Vol, 2, pp. 17, 27, 30-33, 131, 160, 216. 

""So spake the fiend and with necessity, 

The tyrant's plea, excused his devilish deeds." 

Paradise Lost, Bk. 4, 11. 393, 394. 
Milton a true lover of freedom well knew the peril of an argument based upon 
supposed necessity. Necessity is generally but another name for greed or 

12 For example, the Statute of (1732) 5 Geo. II, c. 7, enacted, sec. 4, 
"that from and after the said 29th September, 1732, the Houses, Lands, 
Negroes and other Hereditaments and real Estates situate or being within 
any of the said (British) Plantations (in America) shall be liable" to be 
sold under execution. Note that the Negroes are "Hereditaments and Eeal 
estate," as were the villeins — a rule wholly different from that of the French 

14 The Slave in Canada 

fications and adjoining territory immediately after the fall 
of Quebec and in 1763 the first Captain General and Gov- 
ernor in Chief of the new Province of Quebec, 13 writing from 
Quebec, November 2, 1763, to John Watts in New York 
speaks thus of the promoting of agriculture in the 
Province : 

"I must most earnestly entreat your assistance, without 
servants nothing can be done, had I the inclination to em- 
ploy soldiers which is not the case, they would disappoint 
me, and Canadians will work for nobody but themselves. 
Black Slaves are certainly the only people to be depended 
upon, but it is necessary, I imagine they should be born in 
one or other of our Northern Colonies, the "Winters here 
will not agree with a Native of the torrid zone, pray there- 
fore if possible procure for me two Stout Young Fellows, 
who have been accustomed to Country Business, and as I 
shall wish to see them happy, I am of opinion there is little 
felicity without a Communication with the Ladys, you may 
buy for each a clean young wife, who can wash and do the 
female offices about a farm. I shall begrudge no price, so 
hope we may, by your goodness succeed." 14 

From time to time slavery makes its appearance in offi- 
cial correspondence. Moreover, there are still subsisting 
records which show the prevalence of slavery in the 
province. 15 In January, 1763, there took place at Longueil 
the marriage of Marie, slave of baroness de Longueuil, with 
Jacques Cesar, slave of M. Ignace Gamelin. From 1763 
to 1769 there are found records of the baptism of the 

!3 His Commission is dated November 28, 1763, Shortt & Doughty, Consti- 
tutional Documents, 1759-1761, pp. 126, sqq. 

i* Canadian Archives, Murray Papers, Vol. II, p. 15 : the Quebec Act 
mentioned immediately below is (1774) 14 George III, c. 83. 

In 1774 the well known Quebec Act reintroduced the former French 
Canadian law in civil matters while it retained the English law in criminal 
matters; but the change made no difference in the condition of the slave. 

15 The three which follow I owe to the interesting paper of Mr. E. Z. 
Massicotte, Archivist of Montreal, published in Le Bulletin des Recherches 
Historiques for November, 1918, pp. 348 sqq. — the advertisement in the 
Gazette is to be found in Terrill's Chronicles of Montreal. The paper was 
2^ Spanish dollars per annum, 10 sous per copy, published every Wednesday. 

The Slave in Canada 15 

children of slaves in the registers of the Parish of 
Lachine. In the first issue of the Gazette of Montreal, 
June 3, 1778, there is an advertisement by the widow Dufy 
Desaulniers, offering a reward of six dollars for the return 
to her of a female slave who had run away on the 14th. 
She was thirty-five years old and she was dressed in striped 
calico of the ordinary cut and was of " tolerable stoutness/ ' 
Alexander Henry writing from Montreal, October 5, 
1778, to the Governor Sir Frederick Haldimand, says that 
he had obtained a Judgment in the Court of Common Pleas 
against one Gillelande in the colonies who owed him a con- 
siderable sum of money. "Hearing that a Negro of his 
had deserted from him," said Henry, " and was lurking in 
this Province I obtained an execution upon that judgment 
and got the negro apprehended— who is still in gaol." 
General Powell who was the Commander there sent to 
Mr. Gray the Sheriff desiring him to postpone the sale 
until such time as the Governor should be made acquainted 
with the matter. Mr. Gray thereafter informed Mr. Henry 
that he mentioned the affair to Sir Frederick Haldimand, 
who likewise ordered the sheriff to postpone the sale until 
the Governor could confer with the Attorney-General. The 
Attorney-General thereafter informed Mr. Henry that he 
had spoken to the Governor, who was of the opinion that 
the civil law should take its course. . . . Mr. Gray thought 
he should have some definite authority to sell. . . . He 
said: "There are some gentlemen from the Upper Coun- 
tries 15 whom I presume will give more for him than any 
person resident here and . . . they are now on their re- 
turn.' ' He asked that an order for sale should be sent 
before the departure of these gentlemen. 15 The higher 

16 The ' ' Upper Countries ' ' were Detroit and Michilimackinac, sometimes 
including the Niagara region — at this time there were practically no residents 
in what became the Province of Upper Canada and is now the Province of 
Ontario. The letter is to be found in the Canadian Archives, B. 217, p. 21: 
as no further record appears, it is to be presumed that an order was made for 
sale by the Sheriff. 

The Report of James Monk, Attorney-General at Quebec, about to be men- 
tioned is to be found in the Canadian Archives, B. 207, p. 105. 

16 The Slave in Canada 

price which the gentlemen from the " Upper Countries" 
would pay indicates the objection of those in the old settled 
parts of the province to slavery. 

An official report made in 1778 by James Monk, At- 
torney General at Quebec, to the Governor, Sir Guy Carle- 
ton, (afterwards Lord Dorchester) gives a sufficiently full 
account of an occurrence the subject of much controversy 
and correspondence showing the significance of slavery at 
that time. The Attorney General examined the several 
papers, making a case of complaint, by Joseph Despin of 
St. Francois, Merchant, a trader, against Major de Barner 
Commanding a Eegiment of Light Infantry Chasseurs of 
Brunswick Troops. Despin complained to Brigadier Gen- 
eral Ehrenkrook, Commander of the Brunswick Troops at 
Trois Eivieres, that Major de Barner by his orders or 
otherwise at Midnight of the first of the previous June, 
occasioned forcibly to be taken from said Despin a Negro- 
woman slave, Despin's property and suffered her to be 
carried out of the province. He therefore prayed Briga- 
dier General Ehrenkrook, that Major de Barner might 
either return to him the said slave with damages or pay to 
Despin the value thereof. 

Upon this complaint an inquiry was made. In the 
course of this inquiry Joseph Despin did not support his 
complaint and charge with those legal proofs which could 
entitle him to recover from Major de Barner thereupon; 
" or induce a Court of Justice to consider Major de Barner 
as having either given any others for the taking of, or even 
had any knowledge touching the intended escape of the 
Slave." The complaint of Despin was then deemed very 
justly dismissed. 

Upon the dismissal of this complaint Major de Barner 
requested of the Governor satisfaction and punishment 
upon the accuser, and a notary, one Eobin, who prepared 
notarial acts, in an unbecoming affrontive manner. This 
request was made under three heads: first, that Despin 
might be exemplarily punished, not merely for a false dis- 

The Slave in Canada 17 

honoring accusation of Major de Barner, a commanding 
officer and injurious to his whole battalion, but punishment 
for the personal insults to Major de Barner and his char- 
acter; second, that Despin might pay the expenses of pre- 
paring and making out writings; and third, that the said 
Kobin, the notary, may be equally punished for using ex- 
pressions in his acts hurtful and indecent to persons of 
honor and character. 

The Attorney General asserted that there is reason to 
conclude from the several testimonies appearing in the 
case, that Despin had lost his slave by means of some 
soldiers belonging to the Battalion of Chasseurs which 
Major de Barner Commanded, though not in the least by 
the orders or with the knowledge or consent of Major de 
Barner as charged. 

One of the most extraordinary stories of the time is told 
by William Dummer Powell, afterwards Chief Justice of 
Upper Canada, but in 1780 17 and later practising as a bar- 
rister in Montreal. "Meeting in the Street of Montreal an 
armed Party escorting to the Provost Guard several female 
prisoners and Children/ ' says Mr. Powell, "curiosity was 
excited and upon engaging the Non-Commissioned Officer 
commanding the Escort, Mr. Powell was informed that 
they were Prisoners of war, taken in the Kentucky Country 
and brought into Detroit by a Detachment of the Garrison 
and now arrived from thence. Further Enquiry after pro- 
curing necessary relief to the first wants of the party, drew 
from Mrs. Agnes La Force the following Narrative : 

"That her husband was a loyal Subject in the Province 
of North Carolina, 18 having a good Plantation well stocked 
and a numerous family. That his political Sentiments ex- 

17 In 1778 a much wronged Negro petitioned Haldimand. His petition 
dated at Quebec, October 17, 1778, reads: "To His Excellency Frederick 

Haldimand, Governor & Commander in Chief of all Kanady and the 
territories thereunto belonging, 

The Petition of Joseph King humbly sheweth that Your Petitioner has 
been twice taken by the Yankys and sold by them each time at Public Vendue : 
he has made his escape and brought two white men through the woods: he was 

18 The Slave in Canada 

posed him to so much Annoyance from the governing 
Party, that he determined to retire into the wilderness, 
that he accordingly mustered his whole family, consisting 
of several Sons and their Wives and Children, and Sons- 
in-law with their Wives and Children, a numerous band of 
select and valuable Slaves Male and female, and a large 
Stock of Cattle, with which they proceeded westward, in- 
tending to retire into Kentucky. 

"That after' ' the accidental death of the father they 
pursued their route to the westward and settled with their 
Slaves in the wilderness about five hundred miles from any 
civil establishment. After a residence of three years, a 
party of regular Troops and Indians from the British 
Garrison at Detroit appeared in the plain and summoned 
them to surrender. "Relying upon british faith," says 
Mr. Powell, "they open'd their Grate on condition of Pro- 
tection to their Persons and property from the Indians; 
but they had no sooner surrendered and received that 
promise than her sons and sons-in-law had to resort to 
arms to resist the Insults of the Indians to their wives and 
Slaves. 18 Several lives were lost and the whole surviving 
Party was marched into Detroit, about six hundred Miles, 
where the Slaves were distributed among the Captors and 
the rest marched or boated eight hundred miles further to 
Montreal and driven into the Provot Prison as Cattle into 
a Pound." 19 

This story will be credited with difficulty but accident 
some time after put into the hands of Mr. Powell a docu- 
ment of undeniable credit, which, however, was unneces- 
sary: for on Mr. Powell's representation of the case to Sir 

a servant to Captain McCoy last winter in Montreal and came here (Quebec) 
last spring. Your Petitioner has gone through many Perils and Dangers of his 
life for making his escape from the Yankeys. He hoaps that Your Excellency 
through the abundance of Your Benevolence will grant him his liberty for 
which your poor Petitioner as in Duty bound will ever pray." Canadian 
Archives, B. 217, p. 324. 

18 In the Petition referred to post, Mrs. La Force states that her husband 
was "late of Virginia." 

19 T have followed the Powell MSS. in spelling, capitalization, etc. 

The Slave in Canada 


F. Haldimand the most peremptory order was sent to the 
Commandant at Detroit to find out the slaves of Mrs. La 
Force in whose ever possession they might be and to trans- 
mit them to their mistress at Montreal. But Detroit was 
too far distant from headquarters and interests prompting 
to disobedience of such an order too prevalent for it to 
produce any effect; and the commandant acknowledged in 
answer to a reiterated order that the slaves could not be 
produced, although their names and those of their new mas- 
ters were correctly ascertained and the following list trans- 
mitted with the order. 

List of slaves 20 formerly the property of Mrs. Agnes La 
Force and in possession of others : 

in possession of Simon Girty 21 
Mr. Le Due. 

do do 
Captn. Graham. 
Captn. Elliot. 

do do 
Mr. Baby 
Mr. Fisher. 
Capt. McKee. 
Bess, Grace Rachel, and Patrick — Indians. 




















Bess, Gi 


The case of Mrs. La Force and some similar cases led 
Haldimand to require Sir John Johnson, the Superin- 

20 They were taken in an expedition nominally under Captain Bird but 
he had little control over the Indians and had only a few men of his own, 
British Regulars. He had had bitter experience of the cruelty and unrelia- 
bility of the Indians in 1779 but had to go with them in 1780. This was not 
one of the two large Forts which Bird took in his 1780 expedition, Fort 
Liberty and Martin's Station, but a smaller fortification. It was taken June 
26, 1780 (Can. Arch., B. 172, 480) ; that there were several small forts is 
certain; that some of the prisoners brought to Detroit were from the small 
forts and that they (or some of them) were not rebels appears from the 
letter from De Peyster of August 4, 1780 (Canadian Archives, B. 100, p. 441) : 
"Ina former letter to the Commander in Chief, ' ' said he, "I observed that it 
would be dangerous having so many Prisoners here but I then thought those 
small Forts were occupied by a different set of people." 

20 The Slave in Canada 

tendent of Indian Affairs, to report. He wrote from 
Quebec, July 16, 1781, "Several complaints having been 
made upon the subject of selling negroes brought into this 
Province (Quebec) by scouting parties— who allege a Eight 
to Freedom and others belonging to Loyalists who are 
obliged to relinquish their properties or reclaim them 
by paying the money for which they were sold, I must 
desire that you upon the most minute enquiry give in to 
Brigadier General Maclean a Keturn of all Negroes who 
have been brought into the Province by Parties in any 
Eespect under your Directions whether Troops or Indians, 
specifying their names, their former masters, whether 
Loyalists or Eebels, by whom brought in and to whom sold, 
at what price and where they are at present. I shall direct 
Cols. Campbell and Claus to do the same by which it will 
be in my Power to reduce the Grievances now complained 
of and to make such arrangements as will prevent them 
in future." 

Johnson sent a return of Negroes to Maclean and Ma- 
clean, July 26, 1781, sent it on to Haldimand: Claus and 
Campbell made returns direct to Haldimand in August of 
the same year. Fortunately the covering letters are extant 
as are the reports. There is also one Negro, Abraham, re- 
ported in a Eeturn of Eebel Prisoners in and about Mon- 
treal as having been taken June 18, 1781; and, therefore, 
about a year after Mrs. La Force's capture. 21a 

"Of the fifty or more slaves named in this list," says 
Dr. T. W. Smith, "nearly half were sold at Montreal, a few 
being carried by the Indians and Whites to Niagara. The 
others were handed to their former owners. i Charles 
taken at Balls Town making his escape out of a window in 
Col. Gordon's house' was sold to the Eev. David C. DeLisle, 

21 The well-known so-called Kenegade, is in reality a loyal subject whose 
reputation pays the penalty of a losing cause. The others are all well-known 
loyalists of Detroit. 

2i a Mrs. La Force *s Petition to Haldimand is still extant. Canadian 
Archives, B. 217, p. 116. Her name is included in the list of women and chil- 
dren remaining at Montreal, the list being dated Quebec, September 11, 1782, 
and she being given as of Virginia and taken June 26, 1780. 

The Slave in Canada 21 

the Episcopal rector at Montreal, for £20 Halifax currency ; 
Samuel Judah, Montreal, paid £24 for ' Jacob' also a slave 
of Col. Gordon, a rebel master, but for a Negro girl of the 
same owner he gave £60; Nero, another of Col. Gordon's 
slaves, captured by a Mohawk Indian, Patrick Langan sold 
to John Mittleberger of Montreal for £60; 'Tom' was sold 
by Captain Thompson of Col. Butler's Eangers for £25 to 
Sir John Johnson who gave him to Mr. Langan ; and Wil- 
liam Bowen, a Loyalist owner, sold his recovered slave 
'Jack' for £70 to Captain John McDonell of the Eangers. 
'William,' who was also sold for £30 to Mr. McDonell and 
afterwards carried to Quebec, had been taken from his 
master's house by Mohawk Indians under Captain John 
the Mohawk with a wagon and horses which he had got 
ready to convey his mistress Mrs. Fonda wife of Major 
Fonda to Schenectady . . . another Negro man, name un- 
known, was sold 'by a soldier of the 8th Eegiment to Lieu- 
tenant Herkimer of the Corps of Eangers, who disposed of 
him to Ensign Sutherland of the Eoyal Eegiment of New 

Negroes were not the only victims of Indian raids. In 
1782 Powell had another experience, which is indicative of 
the practices of the Indians during the Eevolutionary 
War. 22 In his letter to the Commissary of Prisoners at 
Quebec he wrote : 

Montreal, 22 August, 1782., 

I should make an Apology for the Liberty I take but that I 
consider it a public Duty. 

When you were here some time since, I am informed that men- 
tion was made to you of a young female slave bought of the In- 
dians by a Mr. Campbell, a Publican of this Town, and that when 

22 The correspondence, &c, is in the Canadian Archives, B. 129, p. 221, 
225,- B. 159, p. 152; B. 183, p. 284. A Negro taken "horse hunting" by a 
party of Puttewatamies in the West is mentioned August 16, 1782, in B. 123, 
p. 290. He belonged to Epharaim Hart from whom he deserted and was taken 
about 20 miles up Cross Creek. I copy from a Manuscript of Powell's in my 
possession which I have compared with a photostat copy of a manuscript in 
the Canadian Archives. 

22 The Slave in Canada 

you learned that she was the Daughter of decent family in Pen- 
silvania 23 captured by the Indians at 10 years of age, your Human- 
ity opposed itself to the barbarous Claim of her Master and you 
Promised that she should be returned to her Parents by the first Flag 
with Prisoners. 

"In consequence of such a Promise," continued he, "the Child 
had been taught to expect a speedy release from her Bondage, and, 
finding that her Name was in the List permitted by his Excellency 
to cross the Lines with a flag from St. Johns, 24 she imagined that 
there could be no Obstacle to her Return; but, being informed 
that Mr. Campbell had threatened to give her back to the Indians, 
she eloped last Evening, and took refuge in my House from whence 
a female Prisoner, (sometime a nurse to my children) was to sett 
off this Morning for the Neighborhood of the Child's Parents. 
Upon Application from Mr. Campbell to Brigadr. Genl. De Speht 
setting forth that He had furnished her with money, an order was 
obtained for the delivery of the Child to her Master and there was 
no time for any other Accommodation than an undertaking on 
my part to reimburse Mr. Campbell the Price he paid for her to the 
Indians. This I am to do on his producing a Certificate from 
some Military Gentleman, whom he says was present at the Sale. 
I have no objection to an Act of Charity of this Nature, but all 
Political Considerations aside, I am of opinion that the national 
Honor is interested that this Redemption should not be the Act 
of an Individual. As Commissary of Prisoners I have stated the 
Case to you, Sir, that you may determine upon the propriety of 
reimbursing me, or not, the sum I may be obliged to pay on this 

"That all may be fairly stated I should observe that the Child 
was never returned a Prisoner, 25 nor has drawn Provisions as such — 
although there can be no doubt of her political character, having 
been captured by our Savages." 

23 The western part of Pennsylvania is meant. This region was seething 
with conflicts on a small scale between the Loyalists and the Bepublicans. 
The Indians for the most part took the side of the former. 

24 In what is now the Province of Quebec. 

25 In 1780 Germain instructed Plaldimand that "all prisoners from re- 
volted Provinces are committed as guilty of high treason not as prisoners of 
war" (Canadian Archives, B. 59, p. 54) but a change soon took place and 
after some intermediate stages, Shelburne, the Home Secretary, in April, 1782, 
instructed Haldimand that all American prisoners were to be held for ex- 
change. Canadian Archives, B. 50, p. 164. 

The Slave in Canada 23 

The reply to this communication was : 

"I am favored with your's by Saturday's post and have since 
layed it before His Excellency the Commander in Chief, and I have 
the Pleasure to inform you that he approves much of your Conduct 
and feels himself obliged for your very humane Interposition to 
rescue the poor unfortunate Sarah Cole from the Clutches of the 
miscreant Campbell ; and I am further to inform you that your letter 
has been transmitted by his Secretary to the Judges at Montreal, not 
only to make Campbell forfeit the money he says he paid for the 
Girl, but if possible to punish and make him an example to prevent 
such inhuman conduct for the Future ; but in any Event you shall be 
indemnified for the very generous Engagement you entered into." 

It has been established that Mr. Powell had redeemed 
his word the day it was given and paid Mr. Campbell 
Twelve Guineas 20 on production of a string of Wampum 
delivered by the Indians with the girl and the money paid 
by Campbell. A cartel went forward August 22, 1782, and 
in the list of prisoners sent south appears the name " Sarah 
Coal." 27 Haldimand gave Mr. Justice Mabane, the man 
of all work of his administration, instructions to see to it 
that Campbell did not profit by his inhumanity and also to 
take such steps that the practice should not prevail for the 

A petition presented to Haldimand in 1783, however, 

26 By the Ordinance of March 29, 1777, 17 George III, c. 9, the guinea 
was declared equivalent to £1.3.4, Quebec Currency: this would make the price 
of the girl, $42.60. See note 30 post. It is to be presumed that Powell was 
repaid. He nowhere complains that he was not as he certainly would have 
done if he had cause to do so. 

Negroes were frequently arriving in the colony and seeking aid and sub- 
sistence. For example, we find Thomas Scott, J. P., reporting Thursday, 
May 17, 1781: "The Bearer John Jacob a Negro man just arrived from 
Montreal has applied to me for relief in his case as set forth in the Annexed 
Paper. But as I apprehend that can only be given him by His Excellency 
the Governor I respectfully recommend him to His Excellency's notice. " 
Canadian Archives, B. 100, p. 72. 

27 See Canadian Archives, B. 130, pp. 33, 34. 

24 The Slave in Canada 

discloses another transaction with the Indians. 28 Jacob 
Adams presented the petition December 13 of that year 
from Carleton Island. He said: 

"I have taken a Yankee Boy (by name Francis Cole) 29 with a 
party of Messesagee Indians — afterwards when I arrived at Carle- 
ton Island with the said party of Indians and said Yankee Boy, 
the Commanding Officer (Captain Aubrey) demanded the Prison- 
ers Vizt. this Boy and an old man 30 the Indians refus'd giving 
them up on which Capt. Aubrey gave me Liberty to purchase them 
and so I did by paying sixteen Gallons Rum for the Boy which cost 
me at this place twenty shillings, York Currency, pr. Gallon, 31 and 
he the said Yankee Boy was to serve me the term of four years 
(with his own lawfull consent) for my redeeming him. As for 
the old man I likewise bought him for two Gallons Eum but 
Capt. Aubrey requested I should send him Prisoner to Your Ex- 
cellency. I acted accordingly. I likewise gave a shirt apiece to 
each of the two. Chiefs who belonged to said party in like manner I 
lost twenty-four shillings York Currency by four Keggs which the 
above Eum was put into. 32 

"Now, may it please Yr Excellency this said Yankee Boy re- 
mained very peaceably and quietly with me for the space of two 

28 It is more than doubtful that the prohibition of the sale of white 
captives by the Indians would be productive of good. The natural result 
would rather be that the Indians would kill their white captives at once or 
torture them to death. At the best the prisoners would in most cases, if 
adults become slaves and if young be adopted into the tribe. There are 
numerous instances of white captives being slain because unsaleable while the 
Negroes escaped death because they found a ready market. See the story of 
Thomas Ridout, post, note 37. The order of Haldimand will be found in the 
Canadian Archives. 

29 Remembering that Sarah Cole was bought by Campbell from the Indians 
at Carleton Island (near Kingston) it seems likely that Francis Cole was her 
brother or some other relation. That Adams says nothing of Sarah is not at 
all strange. 

The Mississagua Indians occupied a great part of the territory now the 
Province of Ontario and were always loyal to the British Crown. 

so In the ' ' Eeturn of Prisoners who have requested leave to remain in the 
Province made at Quebec, November 3, 1782," appear the names of "Mich. & 
Phoebe Beach, to remain at Montreal to receive a child with the Savages and 
a man at Carleton Island." These were white. The Report of the Negroes 
follows. Canadian Archives, B. 163, p. 258. 

3i The York Shilling (or shilling in New York currency) was 12£ cents, 
one eighth of a dollar. 

32 $5.00 for the rum; $3.00 for the "Keggs." 

The Slave in Canada 25 

months during which Time I took him several Journeys to Fort 
Stanwix and Oswego and whilst I was absent he got acquainted 
with some of the soldiers on this Island who persuaded him to 
get off from me and accordingly he got off in the manner follow- 
ing: when Lieut. Peppin of the 5th Kegiment and his Party were 
embarking on board the Haldimand to go to Niagara, he privately 
got on board and remained there Incog, for one Day and a Night 
on which I made an application to Mr. Peppin to make a search 
for him and accordingly he did and found him and likewise brought 
him before the Commanding Officer who asked the Boy his Reasons 
for Running away from me: he replied He did not chuse to live 
with me on which Capt. Aubreay has sent him down as Prisoner 
to Yr. Excellency. 

"May it please Your Excellency I expect your Excellency will 
please to take my Case into consideration by granting me the 
Request of being paid for what I have lost by said Prisoner or the 
Yankee Boy, to be returned to me. . . ." 33 

There were not wanting at this time or later instances of 
those convicted of crime buying their lives by enlistment 
for life. One case of a mulatto, a slave, may be here men- 
tioned. A mulatto called Middleton was convicted at 

33 Canadian Archives, B. 216, pp. 14, sqq. 

No proceedings seem to have been taken on this Petition and it is prob- 
able that Mr. Adams had to stand the loss on Francis Cole the said Yankee 
Boy as Campbell did on Sarah Cole of Pennsylvania. 

Indians were not the only slavers. As soon as the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence was promulgated, if not before, Boston began to fit out privateers to 
prey on British trade. We read of four privateers reported by Governor Mon- 
tague as seen in the Straits of Belle Island in 1776, two off Placentia in 1777 and 
in 1778 committing daily depredations on the coast of Newfoundland. They har- 
ried the unprotected fishermen and the farmers of Newfoundland and Labrador 
but some at least of them went further. Those who had demanded political 
freedom themselves denied even personal freedom to others. They seized and 
carried away into slavery some of the unoffending natives, the Eskimos, who 
were freemen and whose only crime was their helplessness. One instance will 
suffice. The Minerva privateer of Boston, Captain John Grimes, Master, 
mounting 20 nine pounders and manned with 160 men landed on Sandwich 
Bay, Labrador, at Captain George Cartwright's station, took his brig, The 
Countess of Effingham, loaded her with his fish and provisions and sent her off 
to Boston. C'artwright not unnaturally said: "May the Devil go with them. " 
"The Minerva also took away four Eskimo to be made slaves of. " W. G. 
Gosling, Labrador, Toronto, n. d., pp. 192, 244, 245, 333. 

26 The Slave in Canada 

Montreal in 1781 of a felony (probably larceny) which 
carried the sentence of death. He was an expert mechanic 
of a class of men much in demand in the army and he was 
given a pardon conditioned upon his enlisting for life. He 
chose the Second Batallion of Sir John Johnson's Eoyal 
American Eegiment then in Quebec and was handed over 
by Sheriff Gray to the officers of that corps after having 
taken the oath of allegiance administered to all recruits. 34 

Many slaves were employed as boatmen, laborers, and 
the like, in the army. We find a letter from headquarters 
at Quebec to Captain Maurer who was at Montreal, dated 
October 6, 1783, which reads : 

' ' Having had the Honor to communicate to His Excellency, the 
Commander-in-Chief, your intimation that applications have been 
made by the Proprietors of some Negro's Serving Capt. Harki- 
mer's (Herkimer) Company of Batteau Men to have them restored 
to them and desiring to receive His Excellency's Pleasure therein, 
I am directed to signify to you His Excellency's Commands that 
all such Negro's to be given up on the Requisition of their owners, 
provided they produce sufficient Proofs of their Property and 
give full acknowledgments or Receipts for them which must be 
taken in the most ample manner to prevent future claims and to 
have the necessary recourse to those Persons who receive them 
should different applications be made for the above Negro's." 35 

Peace had come 36 and there was no more need for a 
large army. But it was some years before the Indians of 
the western country ceased from their practice of making 
prisoners. 37 

34 See Canadian Archives, B. 61, p. 83, where he is called a Negro. Ibid., 
B. 158, p. 261, where he is called a mulatto. 

35 Canadian Archives, B. 215, p. 236. 

se The Definitive Treaty of Peace between the mother country and her 
revolted colonies, now become the United States of America, was signed at 
Paris, September 3, 1783, but it had been incubating for months before that 

37 It may not be out of place to give some account of the capture by 
Indians of Thomas Eidout, afterwards Surveyor General and Legislative 
Councillor of Upper Canada. His story is given in his own words by his 
granddaughter, Lady Edgar, in her interesting Ten Years of Upper Canada. 

The Slave in Canada 27 

Thomas Ridout, born in Dorsetshire, when twenty years of age came to 
Georgia in 1774. After trading for a few years he left Annapolis, Maryland, 
in 1787 for Kentucky with letters of introduction from George Washington, 
Colonel Lee of Virginia and other gentlemen of standing. Sailing with Mr. 
Purviance, his man James Black and two other men towards the Falls of the 
Ohio, the party was taken by a band of about twenty Indians. Ridout was 
claimed by an elderly man, apparently a chief, who protected him from 
injury, but could not save his hat, coat and waistcoat. Soon he saw tied two 
other young men who had been taken that morning and set aside for death. 
Ridout was able to secure their release. The Indians were Shawanese, Potta- 
watamies, Ottawas and Cherokees. One prisoner, William Richardson Watson, 
said to be an Englishman but who had lived for some years in the United 
States, they robbed of 700 guineas and then burnt to death. Purviance, they 
beat to death but Ridout was saved by the Indian who claimed him as his 
own. A white man, Nash, about twenty-two who had been taken by the 
Indians when a child and had become a chief, encouraged him and told him 
that he would be taken to Detroit where he could ransom himself. He was 
more than once within a hairsbreadth of death but at length he was brought 
by his master, Kakinathucca, to his home. He was a great hunter and went 
every year to Detroit with his furs for sale, taking with him his wife Metsige- 
mawa and a Negro slave. The chief had a daughter Altowesa, about eighteen 
years of age "of a very agreeable form and manners. ' ' She saved Ridout 
from death from the uplifted hand of an Indian who had his hand over him 
ready to strike the fatal blow with his tomahawk. 

At the end of three weeks the whole village set off for the Wabash. 
Arriving at the Wabash his papers were read by the interpreter, a white man 
who had been taken prisoner several years before and held in captivity. The 
Indians were assured that Ridout was an Englishman and not an American 
and they consented that he might go with his master to Detroit for ransom. 
The Indians were excessively enraged at the Americans who they claimed were 
the cause of their misfortunes. The preceding autumn the Americans had 
come to their village on the Scito River from Kentucky and in times of pro- 
found peace and by surprise destroyed their village and many of their people, 
their cattle, grain and everything they could lay their hands on. 

Ridout witnessed the torture and heard the dying shrieks of an American 
prisoner Mitchell who had been captured with his father Captain Mitchell on 
the Ohio. The father had been liberated but the son given to a warrior who 
was determined to burn him. 

After three or four days, Ridout 's master collected his horses and peltry 
and with his wife, the Negro and Ridout set out for Detroit. On the way 
there were met other Indians among whom was the noted Simon Girty. A coun- 
cil was held at which the murderer of Mitchell claimed Ridout as his, but at 
length Kakinathucca prevailed and Ridout 's life was again spared. The 
murderer asserted that he was a spy but his papers proved his innocence. The 
little party went on to Fort Miami where several English and French gentle- 
men received Ridout with open arms. Mr. Sharpe clothed him and a French 
gentlemen lent a canoe to carry the party and furs 250 miles by water to 
Detroit. Reaching Detroit, which, it should be remembered, remained in 


28 The Slave in Canada 

British hands until August 1796, he was received with every attenton and a 
bed was provided for him at Government House. The officers furnished him 
with money and gave him a passage to Montreal where he arrived about the 
middle of July, 1788. Bidout settled in Upper Canada. In 1799, Kakina- 
thucca and three other Shawanese chiefs came to pay him a visit at York, 
(Toronto), and were hospitably treated, the great and good Kakinathucea 
receiving substantial testimony of the gratitude of the man he had saved 
from a death of torture. 

Ridout 's memorandum of the fate of the other prisoners is terribly signifi- 
cant: " Samuel Purviance, Killed; Barland, Killed; Wm. E. Watson, burnt; 
James Black, beat to death; Symonds, burnt; Ferguson, sold for corn; a 
negro woman unharmed. " 











































•S a 

o 2 



,: ^ S 


• • • Qi 

«h u u rr 

J ,£3 ,£3 J 

-(J -4J -t-i -l-i 

'£ '£ '£ '% 

t-4 *H W 

»G -G Qj 

4i +J " 

"£ *£ .a 

o3 o3 o3 

G fa h 

-1-3 -*^ ■*-> 

o G a 

O O O 

e3 e3 
o> o> 

o3 o3 

o> o> 

t-l fcl 

■~ t- 

+S -fJ 

-(-a -t-a 

G C 

G G 

O O 

O O 





o . 

£ <3 


c3 -S 

~ o> 

"B > 

p o> 

in >• 
o> o> 

s | s 

■4 • « 

^ +j _ 




® o 



en G 

o3 o 

53 O 








<t,g ^g 

XJ -G 

•+J -t^ -1-3 

** '5 o '* 

o3 e3 £ 
c3 c3 -o © 
03 03 2 


0) u 
■+-> 0> 

s a 
a s 

Q) 03 


G o -G 
03 fc'£ 

O.G o 

+s -^ M 


-»j +^> » 
.13 £ -2 



M (N<i>ci)'^OiOiO 

villi J 77 


J2 o 
•a »-. 

G o -O - 

o n a? -g 

O M — 3 O 

o > g-g-3 a 

03 2 O c3 O 

•-5 K i-s GO 


© 2 
o H 

— O 
fl) O 

G ^ 
O hi 


-g g 

4 a 


^o So 














GO CO 03 

G G a 
o3 o3 o3 

T3 T3 T3 'O ^ 

a a g g -, ^ 

H HM H _g ; 

M M M M +Z ^ 

£ £ £ £ X) ^ 

■r! w -7i 7l 
^3 ,C ^3 ^3 

o o o o 




T3 ^ 

i— • 







T3 73 


a 1 

3 , 

03 i 



- o 
4 $ 

t-H ^j 

i ° 


o ;*" ■** ."^ ■** ."^ .* ."^ .'* a r* 3 .■** 

Ph 73 73 73 73 73 73 73 73 73 73 



o o o o o o 

+a -*J +J -(J -t-a -M 

•+J -+J -t-s +J -^ -t-3 

73 73 73 73 73 73 



G -G O 

o a o 


b o o 


33 c 
O ^3 

03 O 

8 n3 73 c3 

>» ^ a^ 

- 03 73 £^ O 




a n 

p— I 4J XI 


.■S G 




S 03 








03 £2 

03 G 

O -G ® § 03 O 2-SS ° o 5 .9 ° SS 03 «" *5 

0) -W ^ 





.2 a 




g w 


b-4 W 


^3 73 

I— ( P-H 

o o 







o o o 


-(-3 -(J -(J -+J +s -t-2 +s 












-*J -|_5 -+J -fi 

j m ."t3 ."£ .~£ ."tn •"£ .tn ."t3 -"-h 

a ;g 'J3 '"3 'S ,r 3 43 T3 h3 'S -9 ^ -r 3 -3 *3 -S IS 


o o o 

-(J -t-5 4-> 
-^> +5 -t-3 

T3 T3 T3 

zT ft 

+3 o 



« 2 

O to 

,. +2 

-" "3 
0) « 

ft >» 
O © 

AT" -1 








o o o 

, 0'T3 r On3't3 r O't3't3't3't3 F OT3 o3't3 r OT3 



a> o o o 

O -*J -1-3 -+J 

% .-B .13 .13 

"P "P T3 




•fH •!-! • ** 'pH •!-( 'p* 'r-l 'i-H •>-! • fH 'pH -H -pH 'PH »pH «p* 

""0 ""P T3 '"P *"P "P ""O ""0 13 "O ""0 ""0 '"O ""P 'P *P 






I— I 













o JS o 


o o 

^^^ r C' r O r d r O''P'"O r P'P r O'dp-H''P'P'P 



s ° 
ft ^ 
£ -p 
o <« 


ft 03 

O 2 


3 u 

o3 M 

-m o3 

r^ P» PtH S Hj <1 



S'fl -ST3 

03 .ft o 

o3 -ij 

ft O 

» pH 

a % 

O pH 


03 gp 


H m 4 H S pq A 4 W 53 H fS S <J 55 

,p o3 

Afteb the Peace 

Early in the summer of 1782, Haldimand received orders 
from Sir Guy Carleton then in New York to act only on 
the defensive. This was due to the negotiations for peace 
being on the way, and from that time it may fairly be said 
that Canada was at peace. 

One slave felt the movement in the air. This was Plato, 
an old Negro slave who had been taken in Carleton's opera- 
tions against Fort George in 1780 and brought to. Montreal 
where he entered the service of St. Luc, a personage in 
those days. Plato had belonged to a Mr. Stringer who, the 
slave always asserted, never joined the rebels. But when, 
on November 3, 1782, there was made by the Commissary 
of Prisoners at Quebec a return of the prisoners who had 
requested to remain in the province, Plato's name ap- 
peared in the list. The next year he changed his mind and 
on July, 17, 1783, he presented a petition to Haldimand 
asking him to "excuse these few lines from a slave who 
would wish to go again to his own Master and Mistress.'' 
He added: "The Gentleman I am now living with Mr. St. 
Luc says he is very willing to let me go with the first party 
that sets out from here" (Montreal). 1 Another Negro 
slave Roger Vaneis (Van Ness) who had also been taken at 
Fort George declined to go. He was living with Lieutenant 
Johnson and was to have his freedom on serving for a 
time already about completed. 2 

The declaration of peace, however, brought many more 
slaves into Canada. Even before the treaty was signed 
some of those who had kept their faith to England's crown 
and desired to live and die under the old flag made their 

i Canadian Archives, B. 163, p. 258 : Hid., B. 163, p. 324. 
2 Ibid., B. 163, p. 258. 


32 The Slave in Canada 

way to the north. After the peace when the cause was 
lost, many thousands came. Many of these had been slave- 
holders and they brought their slaves with them. Some 
settled in what was afterwards Lower Canada in Sorel and 
elsewhere, some in the upper country, around Cornwall, 
Kingston, and Niagara, and a very few crossed the river at 
Detroit. 3 

Eeturns made about the time show a large number of 
slaves— euphemistically disguised as servants in some 
cases. A Eeport of 1784 shows 14 near Cataraqui (Kings- 
ton). Another of the same year for the new townships on 
the Eiver St. Lawrence beginning at Township No. 1, on 
Lake St. Francis and running upwards, gives 

1st Battn. late King 's E. Eifles 25 

Tps. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. 
Part Major Jessup 's Corps 12 

Tps. 6. 7 & pt. 8. 
2nd Battn. 

Tps. 3, 4, Cataraqui 10 

Oapt. Grass, Party 

Tp. 1 Cataraqui (apparently none) 
Part Major Jessup 's Corps 

Tp. 2 Cataraqui 12 

Major Eogers ' Corps 14 

Tp. 3 Cataraqui 
Major VanAlstine 's Party of Loyalists* 17 


In the return of the disbanded troops and Loyalists at 
Sorel the same year, the number of servants is given at 5 ; 
none near Chambly, 3 about St. John's, 40 about Montreal, 

3 As Britain kept possession of Detroit until 1796, many United Empire 
Loyalists settled on the west side of the river at that point. A few remained 
on the east side of the Niagara Eiver as Port Niagara was held in the same way. 

4 Canadian Archives, B. 168, p. 42l 

Different detachments of disbanded regulars on Tp. 5 Cataraqui, detach- 
ment of Germans under Baron Kritzenstein on Tp. 5 Cataraqui and Eangers 
of 6 Nations Department settled with the Mohawks on Bay of Quinte return 
no servants. Canadian Archives, B. 168, p. 42. Eeport dated Montreal, July 
1, 1784. 

The Slave in Canada 33 

and 8 about Lachine. 5 In the Niagara district in 1782 
the blunt word "slave" 6 is used and the number given at 
only one. In 1784 the first census in which slaves were 
counted was made. In the District of Quebec there were 
88, in the District of Trois Rivieres 4, and in the District 
of Montreal 212. In what was afterwards the Province of 
Lower Canada there were in all 304. 

The sale and marriage of Negro slaves continued to be 7 
recorded. For example, there are extant two notarial 
acts of sale of a female Negro slave called Peg, June 9, 
1783 from Elias Smith to James Finlay and May 14, 1788 
from Finlay to Patrick Langan. In each case the price 
was £50 8 On Januaray 20, 1785 there took place at Christ 
Church the marriage of Francis and Jane both slaves to 
Colonel Campbell. On March 9, 1785, there was a sale of 
a female Negro slave named Sarah, by James Morison, 
merchant, as agent for Hugh McAdam, of Saratoga, New 
York, to Charles Lepallieur, Clerk of the Court of Common 
Pleas. The price was 36 louis. On April 1, 1785 Elizah 
Cady of New York, sold to William Ward of Vermont, four 
Negroes: Tobi 24 years, Joseph 20 years, Sarah 19 years 
and a child six months, the price being 250 louis. On April 
26, William Ward sold three of these slaves at Montreal 
to William Campbell— that is Tobi, Sarah and the child for 
$425. On May 6, William Campbell sold these three slaves 
to Dr. Charles Blake for $300. 

On September 5, there followed the sale of a Pani slave 

b Canadian Archives, B. 168, pp. 44, 47, 48, 51, 55, 61, 63, 67, 68, 71, 77, 
September, 1784. See also B. 168, pp. 81, 88, 92, 95, 99, 100, 101, 102. These 
may be found in the Eeport for 1891 of the Canadian Archives Department, 
pp. 5-20. 

6 Ibid., B. 169, p. 1. There is a column for ' ' Male Slaves ' ' and one 
for "Female Slaves.' ' Thomas McMicken has the proud monopoly, he had 
one male slave. The other fifteen householders had none. But then he had 20 
hogs to look after and no one else had more than 14; most many fewer. 

7 Canadian Archives, B. 225, 2. p. 406. Massicotte B. E. H. ut supra. 
s LaFontaine ut supra, pp. 21, 22. 

9 Those in the text are taken from M. Massicotte 's Article, B.R.H. ut 
supra. The letter of Campbell is Can. Arch., B. 162, p. 351. That of Doty, 
ibid., p. 365: the Report is ibid., p. 385. 

34 The Slave in Canada 

called Charlotte, aged eighteen years, by Dame Marie- 
Josephe Deguire, widow of Jean-Etienne Waden, to Jacob 
Schieffelin, auctioneer, for 21 louis. The said slave had 
been brought from Upper Canada by Mr. Waden in 1776. 
To increase her value it was said that the slave had had 
the measles and the small-pox and was not scrofulous nor 
had any other defect. 

On January 22, 1786, there took place at Christ Church 
the marriage of the slaves, Thomas York and Margaret Mc- 
Cloud. On March 17, 1787, Samuel Mix, Merchant of Saint- 
Jean on the Eichelieu, sold to Louis Gauthier, merchant 
tanner of the Faubourg Saint Laurent, a female Negro 
slave named Eose aged 14 years for the sum of 40 louis. 
On June 6, 1789, Charles Lepallieur resold to James Mori- 
son the female Negro slave Sarah whom he had sold to 
him in 1785. The price was 36 louis. On the sixth of 
June James Morison sold the same Sarah for 50 louis to 
Joseph Andrews, at a profit of 14 louis. On April 3, 1790 
there was a sale by Oliver Hasting to M. le chevalier Chs. 
Boucher de la Bruere, de Boucherville, of a Negro of the 
name of Antoine, aged eight years and a half. The price 
was 90 minots de ble. On September 9, 1791 followed the 
sale at auction of the female Negro slave Eose, aged 19 
years, by William Matthews, merchant of Sorel, to Lam- 
bert Saint-Omer, Merchant of Montreal, for 38 louis and 
5 shillings. This slave had already belonged to S. Mix as 
set forth above. 

Alexander Campbell writing from Montreal August 16, 
1784, to Major Mathews says that having sent to Albany to 
recover some of his debts, Adam Fondea of Cauchnawago 
of Tryon's County gave as an excuse for not paying his 
debt that a certain Negro woman named Dine born in his 
own family and his actual property was taken away from 
his house by Captain Samuel Anderson of Sir John John- 
son's First Batallion, and was still detained by him as 
his property. Fondea being willing to pay the debt had 
sent a power of attorney to take his slave, sell her and 

The Slave in Canada 35 

pay the debt with the proceeds. Campbell asked that the 
governor should order Dine to be seized and sold as no 
Magistrate had the power or the inclination to give such 
an order. No attention seems to have been paid to this 


On September 15, 1784, James Doty writing also from 
Montreal says that "with some difficulty to myself I have 
. . . purchased a Negro boy from Lieut. Clench of the In- 
dian Department which boy has been allowed his provisions 
drawn at Cataraqui (Kingston) from the time of his first 
coming into the Province with other Loyalists from N. 
York last year." He asked to have this allowance con- 
tinued. There was no answer. The report of settlers 
near Cataraqui for this year gave 3 " servants' ' and near 
Oswegatchie 11. But the importation of Slaves was not 
encouraged indiscriminately. 10 

The accustomed abuses were not wanting. In an action 
Poiree v. Lagord in the Court of Common Pleas at Mon- 
treal July 1788, it was proved that Lagord had sold to 
Poiree in September, 1787, a free Negro for £37.6. He was 
ordered to repay the price with interest. Another and 
more celebrated case was that of the Negro Nero. In 1780 
Haldimand sent a detachment of troops accompanied by 
Mohawk Indians to attack Ballstown and the Saratoga 
region. They captured a number of Negroes some of them 
the slaves of Colonel Gordon of the American service. 
These were claimed by the white men and Indians, and as 
was the custom, they were brought to Montreal and sold. 
One Negro called Dublin was known to be free. He was 
liberated and enlisted in the army. Lieutenant Patrick 
Langan acted as agent for the Indians and sold Nero to 
John Mittleberger for £60, December 5, 1780. Claiming the 
Negro as a prisoner of war General Allan Maclean im- 

10 In a letter from Henry Hope, Lieutenant-Governor dated Quebec, No- 
vember 6, 1786, to Captain Enys, 29th Reg't., we read: 

"I am by desire of His Excellency the Commander in Chief (Lord 
Dorchester) to require that no negro slaves shall be permitted on any account 
to pass into this Province by the Post under your command. ' ' 

36 The Slave in Canada 

prisoned him "in the public Provot." He made his escape 
and went to his master Colonel Gordon and Mittleberger 
sued Langan in 1788 for the price and for damages. In 
January 1789 he was awarded judgment for the £60 and 
interest. 11 About the same time Eossiter Hoyle, attorney 
for the trustees of Mary Jacobs, obtained a judgment in 
the Court of Common Pleas at Montreal that Donald Fisher 
and Elizabeth his wife should forthwith deliver "two negro 
women, the one named Silvia Jane, the other Euth Jane," 
which said Negro women, they had sold to Mary Jacobs by 
a notarial deed for £50 or pay £50 with costs. 12 

There are also in existence advertisements for the sale 
of Negroes. In the Quebec Gazette of March 18, 1784, is 
the advertisement of the sale of a female Negro slave, price 
to be obtained on inquiry of Madame Perrault. In the 
issue of March 25, 1785, there is advertised for sale a 
Negro of about twenty-five years of age who has had the 
smallpox. There appear also a few advertisements for 
runaway slaves. 

There arose also some complaints like the following: 
In 1784 there was presented at Quebec to Sir Frederick 
Haldimand, Governor in Chief, a petition from John Black 
showing that the petitioner hath served as a seaman in 
His Majesty's service on board the sloop, Happy Couple 
of New York for which he had a certificate to shew, and 
was then living servant to Mrs. Martin, the wife of Captain 
Martin of this place, who wanted to deprive him of his 
liberty and humbly begged His Excellency to grant him a 
passport. 13 

The immigration into Canada of those who had been 
British subjects was ardently desired by the home authori- 
ties. To encourage this immigration, the Imperial Parlia- 

ii LaFontaine ut supra, pp. 22, 23, 24, 44, 45, 46. Le Monde Illustre De- 
cember 9, 1893. Massicotte, Bulletin des Becherches Historiques for November, 
1918, pp. 348 sqq. 

12 LaFontaine ut supra, p. 43. The advertisements spoken of are on p. 21. 

13 Can. Arch., B. 217, p. 397. What if anything was done on the petition 
does not appear. 

The Slave in Canada 37 

ment in 1790 passed an Act 14 which had some effect in in- 
creasing the slave population. Intended to encourage 
"new settlers in His Majesty's Colonies and Plantations 
in America," it applied to all "subjects of the United 
States.' ' It allowed an importation into any of the Ba- 
hama, Bermuda or Somers Islands, the province of Quebec 
(then including all Canada), Nova Scotia and every other 
British territory in North America. It allowed the im- 
portation by such American subjects of "Negroes, house- 
hold furniture, utensils of husbandry or cloathing free of 
duty," the "household furniture, utensils of husbandry 
and cloathing' ' not to exceed in value £50 for every white 
person in the family and £2 for each Negro, any sale of 
Negro or goods within a year of the importation to be void. 
After the division of the Old Province of Quebec into 
Upper and Lower Canada in 1791 the course of slavery was 
different. 15 

It seems appropriate to close this chapter by adding a 
number of available advertisements including some of 
runaway apprentices. 16 

II s'est enfui de chez les Soussignes, la nuit du 12 du courant, 
Un Negre Esclave nomme POMPE d 'environ cinq pieds cinq pouces 
d 'hauteur, robuste, il a ete achete dernierement de M. Perras, 
negociant de cette ville; il avoit sur lui quand il a decampe un 
gilet et des culottes brunes: Celui qui le ramenera aura HUIT 
PIASTRES de Recompense, et les frais raisonnables qu'il aura 
faits. Quiconque le retirera chez lui sera poursuivi suivant la 
derniere rigueur de la Loi, par 


RUN-AWAY from the subscribers, in the Night of the 12th inst. 
a Sailor Negro Slave named POMPEY, about 5 Feet, 5 Inches 

i* (1790) 30 George III, c. 27. 

15 The division of the Province of Quebec into two provinces, that is, 
Upper Canada and Lower Canada, was effected by the royal prerogative, See. 
31, George III, c. 31, the celebrated Constitutional Act of Canada. Technically 
and in law, the new province was formed by Order in Council, August 24, 1791, 
but there was no change in administration until December 26, 1791. 

is These I owe to the kindness of the officers of the Canadian Archives De- 
partment of Ottawa. 

38 The Slave in Canada 

high, and is Robust; he was lately bought of Mr. Perras, Mer- 
chant in this Town; had on when he went away a brown Jacket 
and Breeches. Whoever brings him to the Subscribers shall have 
EIGHT DOLLARS Reward and reasonable Charges paid. Any 
Person Harbouring him will be prosecuted according to the ut- 
most Rigor of the Law, by 

Run-away from the Subscriber, living in Quebec, on the Even- 
ing of the 9th Instant, an indented Servant Woman, named 
Catharine Osburn, about 20 or 21 years of Age, red f ac 'd, very fat 
and rough skin'd, about 5 Feet 5 Inches high, a little mark'd with 
the Small-Pox; She had on a purple colour 'd Stuff Jacket flower 'd 
with green and white, a blue thick Kersey Petticoat, blue Stock- 
ings with White clocks, an old red Cloak; and took with her two 
new Shifts of good Dowlas Linen, seven plain and two lac'd caps. 
She was inticed away by two discharg'd soldiers, John Linsey and 
John McDonald, said to be going for New-England. McDonald 
was formerly Turnkey at the Gaol; they were both of the 60th 
Regiment. Whoever takes them up, and secures them, so that 
they may be brought to Justice, shall receive Five Dollars Reward 
for each of them; and whoever secures the Woman, or brings her 
to her Master, shall receive Five Dollars Reward, and all reason- 
able Charges, paid by William Laing. 

N. B. All Persons are forbid to harbour or carry any of them 
off. It is thought that they are still harbour 'd in and about this 
City Quebec, 14th March, 1767.— Quebec Gazette, 1767. 

Whereas William Russey, an article 'd Servant to Mr. Suckling, 
of this City, hath lately run-away, and absented himself from the 
Service of his said Master : If any Person will give Information to 
the said Mr. Suckling of the said Servant, so that he may be ap- 
prehended and brought before John Collins, Esq; one of His 
Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the District of Quebec, shall, 
upon such Apprehension and Bringing, receive Eight Dollars Re- 
ward, to be paid by me the Subscriber: And any Person or 
Persons who shall, after this Notice, employ, harbour or conceal 
the said Servant, will be prosecuted with the utmost Severity of 
the Law, by me, 

Geo. Suckling. 
Quebec, 14th April, 1767. 

— Quebec Gazette, 1767. 

The Slave in Canada 39 

Run-away, from James Crofton, Vintner in Montreal, the Third 
of May, 1767, a Mulatto Negro Slave, named Andrew, born in 
Maryland Twenty-three Years of Age, middle sized, very active 
and sprightly, has a remarkable large Mouth, thick lips, his Fingers 
crooked, speaks good English and French, a little Dutch and Earse ; 
is supposed to have with him forged Certificates of his Freedom, 
and Passes. Whoever takes up and secures the said Negro, so that 
his Master may have him again, shall have Eight Dollars Reward, 
besides all reasonable charges, paid by Mr. Henry Boone, Mer- 
chant, at Quebec, or James Crofton, at Montreal. 

N. B. He is remarkable for being clean dres'd and wearing a 
Handkerchief tied round his Head: is very well known to all the 
Gentlemen at Quebec, that has been in Montreal, and who have 
used my House, and was Three Months with Mr. Joseph Howard, 
of Montreal Merchant, last Summer in Quebec. — Quebec Gazette, 


For no Fault, the Owner having no employ for him, 

A likely Negro fellow, about 23 or 24 Years of Age; under- 
stands Cooking, waiting at Table, and Houshold Work, &c, &c. 
He speaks both English and French. For further Particulars 
enquire of the Printers. — Quebec Gazette, 1770. 

From the Subscriber, on Sunday morning the 24th ult, about 
four o'Clock, a Negro Lad named NEMO, born in Albany, near 
eighteen years of age, about five feet high full round f ac 'd, a little 
marked with the Smallpox, speaks English and French tolerably; 
he had on when he went away a double-breasted Jacket of strip 'd 
flannel, old worsted Stockings, and a pair of English Shoes. Also 
a Negro Wench named CASH, twenty-six years old, about 5 feet 
8 inches high, speaks English and French very fluently; she 
carried with her a considerable quantity of Linen and other valu- 
able Effects not her own; and as she has also taken with her a 
large bundle of wearing apparel belonging to herself, consisting of 
a black satin Cloak, Caps, Bonnets, Ruffles, Ribbons, six or seven 
Petticoats, a pair of old Stays, and many other articles of value 
which cannot be ascertained, it is likely she may change her dress. 
All persons are hereby forewarned from harbouring or aiding them 
to escape, and Masters of vessels from carrying them off, as they 
may depend on being prosecuted to the utmost rigour of the Law; 

40 The Slave in Canada 

and whoever will give information where they are harboured; or 
bring them back to the Subscriber at Quebec, or to Mr. George 
Ross, Merchant at Sorel, shall have TEN DOLLARS Reward for 
each, and all reasonable charges. HUGH RITCHIE. 

N. B. The Lad was seen at Sorel on Friday morning the 29th 
ult. and there is reason to believe they are both lurking thereabout. 

Quebec, November 2, 1779. 

— Quebec Gazette, 1779. 

Ran- Away on Sunday the 24th of October, JOHN BARCLAY, 
an Apprentice, aged 15 years, small of his age, has short black and 
lank Hair, dark hazle Eyes, good complexion a little freckled, 
speaks good English and a little French: had on when he went 
away a light grey Coat and Waistcoat, and stript cotton Trowsers 
with leather Breeches under them. Whoever will apprehend him 
or give information so that he may be apprehended, shall receive 
Five Guineas Reward from 


Quebec, November 2, 1779. 

— Quebec Gazette, 1779. 

Run Away from his bail, an indented servant man named 
Christian Miller, born in Germany, by trade a Tailor, he is about 
5 feet 9 or 10 inches in stature, well made, middling long black 
hair, speaks English tolerably well, he was formerly a servant to a 
German Hessian officer, one Mr. Seiffort, Lieutenant in Capt. 
Schoels regiment, has very much the art and behvaiour of a sham 
beau and has a variety of cloaths, viz. a Maroon Coat, a brown 
ditto, lined with light blue silk, the one had Gold the other Silver 
Buttons, a brown Great Coat and a variety of Waistcoats and 
Breeches: Whoever will apprehend the said Run-away, so as the 
subscriber may have him in custody shall receive FIVE GUINEAS 
reward, over and above any reasonable expences; and all masters 
of vessels, officers of the army and others, are forwarn'd not to 
harbour or entertain him nor to be aiding in his escape, on pain of 
being prosecuted as the law directs. 

Note. If apprehended at Quebec, apply to Mr. Wm. Laing, 
Merchant, or to the subscriber at Montreal. 


Montreal, 4th July, 1782. 

Quebec Gazette 1782. 

The Slave in Canada 41 

Kan Away from the subscriber, on Thursday evening the 21st 
instant, an Apprentice Boy named JOSEPH POWERS, a Shoe- 
maker, about fifteen years of age, of a fair complexion short hair, 
speaks English and French, had on when he went away a Blanket 
Coat, light blue Waistcoat and Breeches very dirty, a Check Shirt 
much wore, a round Hat, and a pair of Slippers: this is to give 
notice to the public that they are not to harbour the said Appren- 
tice in their houses or families, otherwise they will be prosecuted 
as the law directs. 


Quebec, November 27, 1782. 

— Quebec Gazette, 1782. 

Ran-Away from the Printing-Office, On Monday night last, 
an Apprentice Lad named Duncan M'Donell, about 19 years of 
age, about five feet five inches high, of a fresh complexion; speaks 
English, French and Erse: all persons are hereby forwarn'd from 
harbouring him, as they may depend on being prosecuted to the 
utmost rigour of the Law, and whoever will bring him back shall 
have One Guinea Reward from the 


Quebec, April 17, 1783. 

— Quebec Gazette, 1783. 


A NEGRO WENCH about 18 years of age, who came lately 
from New York with the Loyalists. She has had the Small Pox — 
The Wench has a good character and is exposed to sale only from 
the owner having no use for her at present. 

Likewise will be disposed of a handsome Bay Mare. 

For particulars enquire of the Printer. 

— Quebec Gazette, 1783. 

A Gentleman going to England has for sale, a Negro-wench, 
with her child, about 26 years of age, who understands thoroughly 
every kind of house-work, particularly washing and cookery : And 
a stout Negro — boy, 13 years old: Also a good horse, cariole and 
harness. For particulars enquire at Mr. William Roxburgh's 
Upper-town, Quebec, 10th May, 1785. 

— Quebec Gabette, 1785. 

42 The Slave in Canada 

To be SOLD together. 

A Handsome Negro Man and a beautiful Negro Woman 
married to one another: the man from twenty-three to twenty- 
four years of age, between five and a half and six English feet 
high: the woman from twenty-two to twenty-three years of age; 
both of a good constitution. For further information, such as 
may be desirous of purchasing them must apply to Mr. Pinguet, in 
the Lower-town of Quebec, Merchant. 

— Quebec Gazette, 1788. 

Lower Canada 

The Province of Lower Canada continued the former 
law— in criminal matters, the English law, in civil matters 
the French law. It was not long before the status of the 
slave became a burning issue. At the first session of the 
first Parliament 1 of the new Province Lower Canada, Mr. 
P. L. Panet, a member of the House of Assembly, moved 
(January 28, 1793) for leave to introduce a bill for the 
abolition of slavery in the province and leave was unani- 
mously given. On the twenty-sixth of February, Panet in- 
troduced a bill pursuant to leave given, and it was read in 
French and in English. On the eighth of March, Mr. B. 
Panet proposed the first reading of the bill and it was so 
read. On the nineteenth of April Mr. P. L. Panet moved 
that the bill be taken into consideration by the Committee 
of the Whole on the following Tuesday. The motion was 
debated and Mr. Debonne moved an amendment to table the 
bill, which was carried 31 to 3. 2 There was no further 
effort toward legislative dealing with slavery until 1799. 3 

The sale of Negroes continued as indicated by the 

1 Under the Canada Aet of 1791, the provinces had each a parliament 
or legislature, an upper house, the Legislative Council, of nominated mem- 
bers, not fewer than seven in Upper and not fewer than fifteen in Lower 
Canada, and a lower house, the House of Assembly, sometimes called the House 
of Commons, elected by the people, not fewer than sixteen in Upper and not 
fewer than fifty in Lower Canada. 

2 In the sister province a bill to the same effect was more fortunate in the 
same year a little later. This will be considered in the next chapter. 

3 In a work of some authority, Bibaud's Pantheon Canadien, page 211, it 
is said that " Joseph Papineau, Notary Public, Member of the Legislative As- 
sembly for Upper Quebec presented about 1797 a petition of the citizens of 
Montreal for the abolition of slavery. ' ' If that be the case there was nothing 
done on the petition, but it seems probable that the author refers to the peti- 
tion of 1799 spoken of later in the Text. 

4 43 

44 The Slave in Canada 

records. 4 On the twelfth of May, 1794, Francois Boucher 
de la Periere and Marie Pecaudy de Contrecoeur, his wife, 
gave liberty to James, their Negro slave, aged 21 years, on 
condition that he should live in the most remote parts of 
the upper country. If, however, he left those parts, he 
should return to slavery. On the fifteenth of December, 
1795, Frs. Dumoulin, merchant of Bout de Pile sold to 
Myer Michaels, merchant, a mulatto named Prince, aged 
18 years, for the price of 50 louis. 

On the sixteenth of January, 1796 there was found a bill 
of sale of a female Negro slave named Eose, dated January 
15, 1794, the vendor being P. Byrne, the purchaser Simon 
Meloche, for the price of 360 shillings, deposited with the 
Notary J. P. Delisle. On the third of September John Shu- 
ter by notarial act promised his Negro, Jack, to give him 
his liberty in six years, if, in the meantime, he served him 
faithfully. Later, on November 2, 1803, Shuter declared that 
Jack had fulfilled his obligation, and he accordingly emanci- 
pated him. On the thirteenth of September, J. B. Eoutier, 
merchant of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, sold to Louis 
Charles Foucher, Solicitor-General of His Majesty, Jean 
Louis, a mulatto, aged 27 years, height 5' 10", the price being 
1300 shillings. Eoutier declared that he had bought Jean 
Louis as well as his mother at the Island of Saint-Domingue 
in 1778. On the twenty-third of November Cesar, a free 
Negro of New London, Connecticut, engaged for ten years 
as a domestic to Dr. John Aussem, living in the Faubourg 
Saint Antoine, with a salary of 30 louis in advance. Dr. 
Aussem reserved to himself the right to sell the services of 
his domestic to whomsoever he pleased during the ten years. 

On the twenty-fifth of May, 1797 Dame Marie-Catherine 
Tessier, Widow of Antoine Janisse, in his lifetime a voy- 

* From Massicotte ut supra in Le Bulletin des Becherches Eistoriques, Vol. 
II, p. 136, it is said: "Une annonce publiee dans la Gazette de Qu&bec vers: 
cette epoque (L e., 1797) represente un nfcgre courant a toutes jambes. 'II est 
offert une recompense honnete a qui remenera a son maltre marchand de Trois 
Rivieres son eselave fugitif C'e pauvre diable pensait sans doute que la loi 
qu'on proposait pourrait pas d'effet retroactif . ' ' 

The Slave in Canada 45 

ageur, liberated her slave Marie Antoine de Pade, an In- 
dian, aged 23 years, in recognition of her services which she 
had rendered her, and in addition gave her a tronssean. On 
the twenty-fifth of Angnst Thomas Blaney, gold painter, 
sold to Thomas John Sullivan, hotel-keeper of Montreal, the 
Negro Manuel about 33 years old for 36 louis, payable in 
monthly instalments of three louis each. On the same date 
and before the same notary, Sullivan promised the slave to 
liberate him in 5 years, if he served him faithfully. On 
the twenty-second of November George Westphall, form- 
erly Lieutenant of the 6th Regiment, who owed 20 louis 
to Richard Dillon, proprietor of the Montreal Hotel in 
security for payment, delivered to his creditor a mulat- 
ress, a slave called Ledy, aged 26 years. She was to work 
with Mr. Dillon until he was repaid what was owed him by 
Westphall for principal and interest. 

In the year 1793, there came up in the Court of Appeal 
at Quebec a case involving slavery but nothing was really 
decided. The plaintiff Jacob Smith sued Peter McFarlane 
in the Court of Common Pleas for taking away his wife 
and her clothes and detaining them. McFarlane claimed 
that Smith's wife was his slave. The Court of Common 
Pleas gave the plaintiff judgment for £100 and McFarlane 
appealed to the Court of Appeal. The Court pointed out 
that it was for McFarlane to prove that Smith's wife was 
his slave and that he had not done so: but as there had 
been error in the proceedings the case was sent back to be 
retried. It is important to notice that the court considered 
that if McFarlane could prove that Smith's wife was his 
slave, he had the right to take her away. 5 

A lawsuit also arose over the Negro Manuel (Allen) 
sold August 25, 1797, to Thomas John Sullivan. When 
Blaney sold him for £36 Sullivan paid down only half and 
the balance with interest £30.15.2 was sued for in the Court 
of King's Bench at Montreal in 1798. Sullivan pleaded 
that Manuel was not the plaintiff's slave but a free Negro 

s LaFontaine ut supra, pp. 49-51. 

46 The Slave in Canada 

and that he had run away March, 1798, at Montreal where 
he continued to be : and Sullivan claimed to' be reimbursed 
the £18 which he had paid. On the sixth of October Manuel 
himself came into the suit and claimed that "by the laws 
of this land he is not a slave but a freeman.' ' Evidence 
was given that he had absconded from Sullivan's service 
alleging as a reason that he was a freeman, "that other 
blacks were free and that he wanted to be free also." In 
February, 1799, the court held that no title or right to sell 
Manuel has been shown and dismissed the action directing 
the return of the £18. 6 

In 1797 the Imperial Act of 1732 for the sale of Negroes 
and other hereditaments for debt in the American Planta- 
tions was repealed so far as it related to Negroes 7 but this 
made no difference in their status. The courts, however, 
were becoming astute in favor of assisting those claiming 
freedom. In February, 1798, a certain female Negro slave 
called Charlotte belonging to Miss Jane Cook left her mis- 
tress and refused to return. On information laid she was 
committed by the magistrates to prison. She sued out a 
writ of habeas corpus from the Court of King's Bench at 
Montreal and Chief Justice, James Monk, ordered her re- 
lease. On this becoming known, the Negroes of the city 
and district of Montreal became very threatening in their 
demeanor. Many renounced all service and one woman 
called Jude who had been bought at Albany in 1795 for 
£80 by Elias Smith, a merchant of Montreal, left her 
master and was committed to prison in the same way by 
the magistrates. Being brought up in the Court of King's 
Bench at Montreal on habeas corpus, Chief Justice Monk 
discharged her March 8, 1798 without deciding the question 
of slavery. The Chief Justice declared that he would set 
free every Negro, articled apprentice, or domestic servant 
who should be committed to prison in this way by the 

e LaFontaine ut supra, pp. 52 & 56. 

7 For the Act of 1732 (5 George II, c. 7) see ante p. 13. The repealing Act 
was (1797) 37 George III, c. 119 (Imp.). 

The Slave in Canada 47 

magistrates. But this was because the statute in force at 
that time 8 which gave power to the magistrates to cause 
such due correction and punishment to be ministered to an 
apprentice as they thought fit and this empowered them to 
commit apprentices to the house of correction as a punish- 
ment, but it gave no authority to commit to a common gaol 
or other prison. 

These decisions alarmed the owners of slaves: and a 
petition from many inhabitants of Montreal was presented 
to the House of Assembly April 19, 1799, by Joseph Papi- 
neau. This petition set forth the ordinance of the In- 
tendant Eandot in 1709 9 the Act of 1732, 10 that of 1790, 11 
the facts concerning Charlotte, Jude and the other Negroes, 
the judgments of Chief Justice Monk, and the absence of 
any house of correction. It prayed that an Act should be 
passed that until a house of correction should be estab- 
lished every slave, Panis or Negro who should desert the 
service of his master, might be proceeded against in the 
same way as apprentices in England, and be committed to 
the common gaol of the District; and further that no one 
should aid or receive a deserting slave, or that there should 
be passed a law declaring that there was no slavery in the 
Province or such other provision concerning slaves should 
be made as the House should deem convenient. 12 The peti- 
tion was laid on the table. 

In 1799 there was passed an Act providing houses of 
correction for several districts, but no provision was made 

s The Statute of 1562, 5 Elizabeth, c. 4, not repealed until 1814, 54 George 
III, c. 96 (Imp.). 

9 See ante, p. 3. 

io Ibid., p. 13, n. 12. 

ii Ibid., p. 37. 

i 2 "Ou qu'une loi puisse etre passee declarant qu'il n'y a point d'esclav- 
age dans la Province; ou telle autre provision concernant les esclaves que cette 
Ohambre, dans sa sagesse, jugera convenable. ' ' The Act of 1799 providing for 
houses of correction (really the common goal) was 39 George II, c. 6 (L. C), 
and was to be in force for two years. It was amended and continued for four 
years by the Act (1802) 42 George III, c. 6 (L. C.) and again by (1806) 46 
George III, c. 6 (L. C), until January 1, 1810 when it expired. 

48 The Slave in Canada 

concerning slavery. Perhaps the wisdom of this house 
proved insufficient to devise any "provision convenable. ' ' 

The next year another petition was brought in by Papi- 
neau from certain inhabitants of the District of Montreal 
saying that doubts had been entertained how far property 
in Negroes and Panis was sustainable under the laws of the 
province. They cited Eandot's ordinance, the recognition 
of slavery for years, and stated that in a recent case the 
Court of King's Bench at Montreal in discharging a slave 
of Mr. Fraser's who had been committed to the house of 
correction by three justices of the peace, had expressed 
the opinion that the Act of 1797 13 had repealed all the laws 
concerning slavery. They asked that the House should 
pass an act declaring that with certain restrictions slavery 
did exist in the province and investing the owners with full 
property in the slave; and that this chamber should also 
pass such laws and regulations in the matter as should be 
thought advisable. 14 

The petition on motion of Messrs. Papineau and Black 
was referred to a committee of five, Papineau, Grant, 
Craigie, Cuthbert and Dumas. The committee reported 
and Cuthbert introduced on April 30, 1800, a bill to regulate 
the condition of slaves, to limit the term of their slavery 
and to prevent further introduction of slavery in the 
province. The bill passed the second reading and was 
referred to the Committee of the Whole, but got no further. 
The next year Cuthbert introduced a similar bill with the 
same result, and again in 1803. The reason for the failure 
of these attempts was that any legislation on slavery would 
in view of the decisions of the courts be reactionary and 
change for the worse the condition of the slave. 

The most celebrated of these decisions was in the case 

is See ante, note 7. The effect of this Act was probably not as stated. 
The slave of Mr. Fraser's was Robin alias Robert to be spoken of infra, 
pp. 49, 50. 

14 The two reasons given for the request are the familiar ones. The peti- 
tioners had paid large sums for the slaves who had left them and "they are 
all wholly convinced that that class of men really lazy leading an idle and 
abandoned life would attempt to commit crime. " 

The Slave in Canada 49 

of Kobin, alias Eobert, a black. James Fraser, a Loyalist 
of the colony of New York, became the owner of Eobin a 
Negro man in 1773, before the American Eevolution. The 
colonies were snccessfnl and provisional articles of peace 
were signed November 30, 1782. Congress proclaimed 
them April 11, 1783 and it was almost inevitable that they 
would become a permanent and definitive treaty. Article 
VII provided for the speedy evacuation by the British 
forces of territory to be allotted to the United States of 
America "without carrying away any negroes or other 
property of the American inhabit ant s." There was al- 
lowed full time for everyone who desired to live under the 
British flag to leave New York. James Fraser made up 
his mind to go to Nova Scotia and obtained a pass from 
William Walton, the Magistrate of Police of the city, for 
his slave Robin and another, Lydia, September 23, 1783. 15 
Fraser went to Shelborne, Nova Scotia, and the following 
year in September he went to "the Island of St. John," 16 
accompanied by Robin who was and acknowledged himself 
to be Fraser 's property. Afterwards Fraser brought him 
to the Current of Saint Mary near the city of Montreal 
where Fraser became a farmer. Robin, infected with the 
pernicious doctrines of freedom then rather prevalent left 
Fraser, March 19, 1799, and went to live with Richard, a 
tavern keeper in Montreal. Fraser laid an Information 
before Charles Blake, a justice of the peace, and January 
31, 1800, Charles Blake, Robert Jones and James Dunlop, 
justices of the peace of the District of Montreal committed 
Robin to the "Common Gaol and House of Correction at 
Montreal" with a warrant to Jacob Kuhn "Keeper of His 

is The definitive treaty was in fact signed September 3, 1783, but not 
ratified by Congress until January 14, 1784. The armistice had been con- 
cluded January 20, 1783. In the definitive treaty, Article VII contains the 
same provisions as to Negroes as the corresponding article in the preliminary 

!6 Isle St. Jean so called from about the end of the sixteenth century until 
1798, when it was given the name Prince Edward Island out of compliment to 
Prince Edward, Duke of Kent (father of Queen Victoria), then commanding 
the British Forces in North America. The name it still retains. 

50 The Slave iist Canada 

Majesty's Jail and House of Correction" to receive "a 
negroman named Eobert who refuses to go home to his 
owner and him safely to keep till he may be discharged or 
otherwise dealt with according to law." 

In the February Term 1800 of the Court of King's 
Bench for the District of Montreal 17 Mr. A. Perry, his ad- 
vocate, obtained a writ of habeas corpus and on the tenth 
of February the black was produced in court. Mr. Perry 
for the black and Mr. Kerr for James Fraser presented 
their arguments upon this day and on the thirteenth of 
February, and after consideration and consultation the 
court five days later ordered the discharge of Eobin alias 
Eobert from his confinement under the warrant. 18 

The decision proceeded on the ground that the Act of 
1797 which repealed the provision for the sale of Negroes 
to answer a judgment had revoked all the laws concerning 
slavery. Eemembering that the Act of 1732 was intended 
to change the common law of England which did not allow 
the sale of land under a writ of execution, fieri facias, it 
should probably be considered that the sole effect of the 
repeal of the act as regards Negroes was to exempt them 
from sale under fieri facias, without affecting their status. 
And it is well known that slavery continued in the West 
India Islands and in Upper Canada long after the Act of 

it The Judges were James Monk, Chief Justice and Pierre Louis Panet 
and Isaac Ogden, Puisne Justices. 

18 LaFontaine ut supra, pp. 56-63. It has often been said that it was 
Chief Justice Osgoode who gave the death blow to slavery in Lower Canada. 
For example, in James P. Taylor's Cardinal facts of Canadian History, To- 
ronto, 1899j on p. 88 we find a statement that in 1803, Chief Justice Osgoode in 
Montreal declared slavery inconsistent with the laws of Canada. But Osgoode 
became Chief Justice of the Province in July, 1794. Continuing as such Chief 
Justice, he became Chief of the Court of King's Bench for the District of 
Quebec later on in the same year on the coming into force of the Act of 1794, 
34 George III, c. 6, which erected two Courts of King's Bench, one for each 
District. James Monk became Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench for 
the District of Montreal, which position he retained until 1825. Osgoode re- 
signed his position and went to England in 1801 and lived in England until his 
death in 1824: he was never Chief Justice at Montreal. 

The Slave in Canada 51 

The effect of the decisions while not technically abolish- 
ing slavery rendered it innocuous. The slave could not be 
compelled to serve longer than he would, and the burden of 
slavery was rather on the master who must support his 
slave than on the slave who might leave his master at will. 
The legislature refusing to interfere, the law of slavery 
continued in this state until the year 1833 when the Im- 
perial Parliament passed the celebrated act which forever 
abolished slavery in British Colonies from and after Au- 
gust 1, 1834. 19 

As Lower Canada passed no legislation on slavery, the 
extradition of fugitives was made impossible and Canada 
became therefore an asylum for the oppressed in the United 
States. Before the Act of 1833 there was one instance of 
a request from the Secretary of State of the United States 
for the delivery up of a slave. The matter was referred to 
the Executive Council by Sir James Kempt, the Admin- 
istrator of the Government. 20 The report of the Execu- 

io One result of these decisions was to induce the escape of Negro slaves 
from Upper Canada where slavery was lawful to Lower Canada. For example 
one hears of two of the three slaves whom Captain Allan brought with him into 
Upper Canada from New Jersey running away to Montreal. The owner pursued 
them to Montreal and searched for them in vain for ten days. The third slave, 
a woman, he sold with her child. 

The Statute is (1833) 3, 4, William IV, c. 73 (Imp.). One result of this 
Act is exceedingly curious and to the philosophical lawyer exceedingly interest- 
ing. Slaves which had been real estate, as soon as the act was passed ceased to 
be such, and the benefit to be obtained from their labor until fully enfran- 
chised and the money to be paid by the legislature as compensation for their 
freedom became personal estate. See the luminous judgment of the Judicial 
Committee of the Privy Council in Richard v. Attorney General of Jamaica, 
Moore's Report of Cases in the Judicial Committee (1848), Vol. 6, p. 381. 

In a note on p. 35 of a paper in the Transactions of the Royal Society of 
Canada, 1900, on La Declaration de 1732, M. 'Abbe Auguste Gosselin, Litt.D., 
F.R.S., Can., we read: 

''On trouve dans le livre de Mgr. Tanguay A travers les Registres, p. 157, 
une notice sur 1 'Esclavage au Canada, avec un ' Tableau des families possedant 
des esclaves de la nation des Panis. ' L 'esclavage ne fut definitivement aboli 
par une loi, en Canada, qu'en 1833. " 

The learned author does not mean that there was legislation on slavery in 
Canada in 1833, or that it was Canadian legislation which abolished slavery; 
for such was not the case. 

20 From September 8, 1828, to October 19, 1830. 

52 The Slave in Canada 

tive Council shows the view held that ' ' the Law of Canada 
does not admit a slave to be a subject of property." 

At a meeting of the Executive Council of the Province 
of Lower Canada held at the Council Chamber in the 
Castle of St. Lewis, on Thursday, June 18, 1829, under Sir 
James Kempt, the Administrator of the Government, the 
following proceedings were had: 

"Report of a Committee of the whole Council. Present The 
Honble. the Chief Justice in the Chair, Mr. Smith, Mr. DeLery, 
Mr. Stewart, and Mr. Cochran. On Your Excellency's reference of 
a letter from the American Secretary of State requesting that Paul 
Vallard accused of having stolen a Mulatto Slave from the State 
of Illinois may be delivered up to the Government of the United 
States of America together with the Slave. 
"May it please Your Excellency, 

"The Committee have proceeded to the consideration of the 
subject matter of this reference with every wish and disposition to 
aid the Officers of the Government of the United States of America 
in the execution of the laws of that dominion and they regret 
therefore the more that the present application cannot in their 
opinion be acceded to. 

"In the former cases the Committee have acted upon the prin- 
ciple which now seems to be generally understood that whenever a 
crime has been committed and the perpetrator is punishable ac- 
cording to the Lex Loci of the country in which it is committed, 
the country in which he is found may rightfully aid the police of 
the country against which the crime was committed in bringing 
the criminal to justice — and upon this ground have recommended 
that fugitives from the United States should be delivered up. 

"But the Committee conceive that the crimes for which they 
are authorized to recommend the arrest of individuals who have 
fled from other Countries must be such as are mala in se, and are 
universally admitted to be crimes in every nation, and that the 
offence of the individual whose person is demanded must be such 
as to render him liable to arrest by the law of Canada as well as by 
the law of the United States. 

"The state of slavery is not recognized by the law of Canada 
nor does the law admit that any man can be the proprietor of 

The Slave in Canada 53 

''Every slave therefore who comes into the province is im- 
mediately free whether he has been brought in by violence or 
has entered it of his own accord ; and his ' liberty cannot from 
thenceforth be lawfully infringed without some cause for which 
the law of Canada has directed an arrest. 

"On the other hand, the Individual from whom he has been 
taken cannot pretend that the slave has been stolen from him in 
as much as the law of Canada does not admit a slave to be a sub- 
ject of property. 

"All of which is respectfully submitted to Your Excellency's 
Wisdom." 21 

21 Canadian Archives, State K, p. 406. 

Upper Canada— Early Period 

The first Parliament of the Province of Upper Canada 
sat at Newark formerly and now Niagara-on-the-Lake, Sep- 
tember 17, 1792. The very first act of this first Parliament 
of Upper Canada reintroduced the English civil law. 1 
This did not destroy slavery, nor did it ameliorate the 
condition of the slave. It was rather the reverse, for as 
the English law did not, like the civil law of Eome and the 
systems founded on it, recognize the status of the slave at 
all, when it was forced by grim fact to acknowledge slavery, 
it had no room for the slave except as a mere piece of 
property. Instead of giving him rights like those of the 
"servus," he was deprived. of all rights, marital, parental, 
proprietary, even the right to live. In the English law and 
systems founded on it, the slave had no rights which the 
master was bound to respect. 2 At one time, indeed, it was 
understood in the English colonies that the master had the 
jus vitce necisque over his slaves; but at the beginning of 
the eighteenth century the Crown much to the anger and 
disgust of the colonists made the murder of a Negro a 
capital offence, and at least some of the governors vigor- 
ously upheld this decision. 3 

Upper Canada was settled almost wholly by United 
Empire Loyalists who had left their homes in the revolted 
colonies and kept their faith to the Crown. Many of them 

iThe Statute is (1792) 32 George III, c. 1 (U. C). 

2 Compare the opinion of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the 
United States in the celebrated Dred Scott case. 19 Howard, 354, pp. 404, 405. 

s See as to this Reginald W. Jeffery, The History of The Thirteen Colonies 
of North America 1497-1763 (London), p. 190. This interesting work which 
I have found accurate gives Governor Spotswood as enforcing the royal decree 


The Slave in Canada 55 

brought their slaves as well as their other property to the 
new land. The statute of 1790 encouraged this practice. 4 

The first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada was 
Col. John Graves Simcoe. He hated slavery and had 
spoken against it in the House of Commons in England. 
Arriving in Upper Canada in the summer of 1792, he was 
soon made fully aware by the Chloe Cooley case that the 
horrors of slavery were not unknown in his new province. 
There came up to the Executive Council the complaint that 
a Negro girl thus named had been cruelly forced across 
the border and sold in the United States by one Vroomen. 
Much indignation was expressed by both citizens and 

* See ante, p. 37. 

5 This is copied from the Canadian Archives, Q. 282, pt. 1, pp. 212 sqq. ; 
taken from the official report sent to Westminster by Simcoe. There is the 
usual amount of uncertainty in spelling names, Grisley or Crisley, Fromand, 
Frooman, Froomond or Fromond (in reality Vrooman). 

The following is a report of a meeting of his Executive Council: 

"At the Council Chamber, Navy Hall, in the County of Lincoln, Wednes- 
day, March 21st, 1793. 

1 ' Present 
"His Excellency, J. G. Simcoe, Esq., Lieut.-Governor, &c, &c, 
The Honble. Wm. Osgoode, Chief Justice, 
The Honble. Peter Eussell. 

"Peter Martin (a negro in the service of Col. Butler) attended the Board 
for the purpose of informing them of a violent outrage committed by one 
Fromand, an Inhabitant of this Province, residing near Queens Town, or the 
West Landing, on the person of Chloe Cooley a Negro girl in his service, by 
binding her, and violently and forcibly transporting her across the River, and 
delivering her against her will to certain persons unknown; to prove the truth 
of his Allegation he produced Wm. Grisley (or Crisley). 

"William Grisley an Inhabitant near Mississague Point in this Province 
says: that on Wednesday evening last he was at work at Mr. Froemans near 
Queens Town, who in conversation told him, he was going to sell his Negro 
Wench to some persons in the States, that in the Evening he saw the said Negro 
girl, tied with a rope, that afterwards a Boat was brought, and the said Froo- 
man with his Brother and one Vanevery, forced the said Negro Girl into it, 
that he was desired to come into the boat, which he did, but did not assist or 
was otherwise concerned in carrying off the said Negro Girl, but that all the 
others were, and carried the Boat across the River; that the said Negro Girl 
was then taken and delivered to a man upon the Bank of the Eiver by Froo- 
mand, that she screamed violently and made resistance, but was tied in the 
same manner as when the said William Grisley first saw her, and in that con- 

56 The Slave in Canada 

The Attorney-General was John White 6 an English 
lawyer of no great eminence indeed but of sufficient skill to 
know that the brutal master was well within his rights in 
acting as he did. He had the same right to bind, export, 
and sell his slave as to bind, export, and sell his cow. 
Chloe Cooley had no rights which Yrooman was bound to 
respect; and it was no more a breach of the peace than if 
he had been dealing with his heifer. Nothing came of the 
direction to prosecute and nothing could be done unless 
there should be an actual breach of the peace. 

It is probable that it was this circumstance which 
brought about legislation. At the second session of the 
First Parliament which met at Newark, May 31, 1793, a 
bill was introduced and unanimously passed the House of 
Assembly. The trifling amendments introduced by the 
Legislative Council were speedily concurred in, the royal 
assent was given July 9, 1793, and the bill became law. 7 

Simcoe, as was his duty, reported to Henry Dundas 
afterwards Lord Melville, Secretary of State for the Home 
Department concerning this Act September 28, 1793. 

dition delivered to the man . . . Wm. Grisley farther says that he saw a negro 
at a distance, he believes to be tied in the same manner, and has heard that 
many other People mean to do the same by their Negroes. 

il Resolved — That it is necessary to take immediate steps to prevent the 
continuance of snch violent breaches of the Public Peace, and for that pur- 
pose, that His Majesty's Attorney-General, be forthwith directed to prosecute 
the said Promond. 

' ' Adjourned. ' ' 

6 John White was called to the bar in 1785 at the Inner Temple. He 
practised for a time but unsuccessfully in Jamaica and through the influence 
of his brother-in-law, Samuel Shepherd, and of Chief Justice Osgoode was ap- 
pointed the first Attorney General of Upper Canada. It is probable, but the 
existing records do not make it certain, that it was he who introduced and had 
charge in the House of Assembly of the bill for the abolition of slavery passed 
in 1793, shortly to be mentioned. His manuscript diary is still extant, a copy 
being in the possession of the writer: One entry reads under date Newark 
Tuesday March 6 1793 "John Young from Grand River came with Mr. Mac- 
Michael respecting his runaway negro. Rec'd 5 Dols. ,, 

7 The statute is (1793) 33 Geo. Ill, c. 7 (U. C). The Parliament of 
Upper Canada had two houses, the Legislative Council, an upper house, ap- 
pointed by the Crown ; and the Legislative Assembly, a lower house or House of 
Commons, as it was sometimes called, elected by the people. The Lieutenant 

The Slave in Canada 57 

Simcoe had discovered that there was much resistance to 
the slave law. There were many plausible arguments of 
the demand for labor and the difficulty of obtaining 
"Servants to cultivate Lands." "Some possessed of Ne- 
groes," said he, "knowing that it was very questionable 
whether any subsisting Law did authorize Slavery and 
having purchased several taken in war by the Indians at 
small prices wished to reject the Bill entirely; others were 
desirous to supply themselves by allowing the importation 
for two years. The matter was finally settled by under- 
taking to secure the property already obtained upon condi- 
tion that an immediate stop should be put to the importa- 
tion and that Slavery should be gradually abolished." 8 

The Act recited that it was unjust that a people who 
enjoy freedom by law should encourage the introduction 
of slaves, and that it was highly expedient to abolish 
slavery in the province so far as it could be done gradually 
without violating private property. It repealed the Im- 
perial Statute of 1790 so far as it related to Upper Canada, 
and to enact that from and after the passing of the act 
"No Negro or other person who shall come or be brought 
into this Province . . . shall be subject to the condition of 
a slave or to bounden involuntary service for life." With 
that regard for property characteristic of the English- 
Governor gave the royal assent. The bill was introduced in the Lower House, 
probably by Attorney General White, as stated in last note, and read the first 
time, June 19. It went to the committee of the whole June 25, and was the 
same day reported out. On June 26 it was read the third time, passed and sent 
up for concurrence. The Legislative Council read it the same day for the first 
time, went into committee over it the next day, June 28, and July 1, when it 
was reported out with amendments, passed and sent down to the Commons 
July 2. That house promptly concurred and sent the bill back the same day. 
See the official reports: Ont. Arch. Reports for 1910 (Toronto, 1911), pp. 25, 
26, 27, 28, 32, 33. Ont. Arch. Rep. for 1909 (Toronto, 1911), pp. 33, 35, 36, 38, 
41, 42. 

s Canadian Archives, Q. 279, 2, p. 335. 

White in his diary says "To the 21 June, some opposition in the House 
not much" — under date June 25 when the Bill was in Committee of the whole 
he says "Debated the Slave Bill hardly: Met much opposition but little argu- 

58 The Slave in Canada 

speaking peoples, the act contained an important proviso 
which continued the slavery of every " negro or other 
person subjected to such service" who had been lawfully 
brought into the province. It then enacted that every 
child born after the passing of the act, of a Negro mother 
or other. woman subjected to such service, should become 
absolutely free on attaining the age of twenty-five, the 
master in the meantime to provide " proper nourishment 
and cloathing" for the child, but to be entitled to put him 
to work, all issue of such children to be free whenever born. 
It further declared that any voluntary contract of service or 
indenture should not be binding longer than nine years. 
Upper Canada was the first British possession to provide 
by legislation for the abolition of slavery. 9 

9 Simcoe was almost certainly the prime mover in the legislation of 1793. 
When giving the royal assent to the bill he said: "The Act for the gradual 
abolition of Slavery in this Colony, which it has been thought expedient to 
frame, in no respect meets from me a more cheerful concurrence than in that 
provision which repeals the power heretofore held by the Executive Branch of 
the Constitution and precludes it from giving sanction to the importation of 
slaves, and I cannot but anticipate with singular pleasure that such persons as 
may be in that unhappy condition which sound policy and humanity unite to 
condemn, added to their own protection from all undue severity by the law of 
the land may henceforth look forward with certainty to the emancipation of 
their offspring." See Out. Arch. Rep. for 1909, pp. 42-43. 

I do not understand the allusion to "protection from undue severity by 
the Law of the land. " There had been no change in the law, and undue 
severity to slaves was prevented only by public opinion. It is practically 
certain that no such bill as that of 1798 would have been promoted with 
Simcoe at the head of the government as his sentiments were too well known. 

Vermont excluded slavery by her Bill of Rights (1777), Pennsylvania and 
Massachusetts passed legislation somewhat similar to that of Upper Canada 
in 1780; Connecticut and Rhode Island in 1784, New Hampshire by her Con- 
stitution in 1792, Vermont in the same way in 1793; New York began in 
1799 and completed the work in 1827, New Jersey 1829. Indiana, Illinois, 
Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa were organized as a Territory in 1787 and 
slavery forbidden by the Ordinance, July 13, 1787, but it was in fact known 
in part of the Territory for a score of years. A few slaves were held in 
Michigan by tolerance until far into the nineteenth century notwithstanding 
the prohibition of the fundamental law (Mich. Hist. Coll., VII, p. 524). 
Maine as such probably never had slavery, having separated from Massachu- 
setts in 1820 after the Act of 1780; although it would seem that as late as 
1833 the Supreme Court of Massachusetts left it open when slavery was 

The Slave in Canada 59 

It will be seen that the statute did not put an end to 
slavery at once. Those who were lawfully slaves remained 
slaves for life unless manumitted and the statute rather 
discouraged manumission, as it provided that the master 
on liberating a slave must give good and sufficient security 
that the freed man would not become a public charge. But, 
defective as it was, it was not long without attack. In 
1798, Simcoe had left the province never to return, and 
while the government was being administered by the time- 
serving Peter Eussell, 10 a bill was introduced into the 
Lower House to enable persons " migrating into the prov- 
ince to bring their negro slaves with them." The bill was 
contested at every stage but finally passed on a vote of 
eight to four. In the Legislative Council it received the 
three months ' hoist and was never heard of again. 11 The 

abolished in that State (Commonwealth v. Aves, 18 Pick. 193, 209). (See 
Cobb's Slavery, pp. clxxi, clxxii, 209; Sir Harry H. Johnston's The Negro 
in the New World, an exceedingly valuable and interesting work, but not 
wholly reliable in minutiae, pp. 355 et seq.) 

10 Eussell became administrator of the Government of Upper Canada, 
July 21, 1796, and held that position until the arrival of the new Lieutenant- 
Governor General Peter Hunter, August 16, 1799. 

ii Ont. Arch. Rep. for 1909, pp. 64, 69, 70, 71, 75; ibid, for 1910, pp. 67, 
68, 69, 70. 

The bill was introduced in the Lower House by Christopher Eobinson, 
member for Addington and Ontario. He was a Virginian Loyalist, who in 
1784 emigrated to New Brunswick, and in 1788 to that part of Canada, later 
Lower Canada; and in 1792 to Upper Canada. Accustomed from infancy to 
slavery, he saw no great harm in it — no doubt he saw it in its best form. 

The chief opponent of the bill was Robert Isaac Dey Gray, the young 
Solicitor General, the son of Major James Gray, a half -pay British Officer. 
He studied law in Canada. He was elected member of the House of Assembly 
for Stormont in the election of 1796, and again in 1804. 

The motion for the three months' hoist in the Upper House was made 
by the Honorable Richard Cartwright seconded by the Honorable Robert 
Hamilton. These men, who had been partners, generally agreed on public 
measures and both incurred the enmity of Simcoe. He called Hamilton a 
Republican, then a term of reproach distinctly worse than Pro-German would 
be now, and Cartwright was, if anything, worse. But both were men of 
considerable public spirit and great personal integrity. For Cartwright see 
The Life and Letters of Hon. Bichard Cartwright, Toronto, 1876. For 
Hamilton see Riddell's edition of La Roche foucault's Travels in Canada in 
1795 (Toronto, 1817), in Ont. Arch. Rep. for 1916; Miss Carnochan's Queen- 


60 The Slave in Canada 

argument in favor of the bill was based on the scarcity of 
labor which all contemporary writers speak of, the induce- 
ment to intending settlers to come to Upper Canada where 
they would have the same privileges in respect of slavery 
as in New York and elsewhere ; in other words the inevit- 
able appeal to greed. 

After this bill became law, slavery gradually disap- 
peared. Public opinion favored manumission and while 
there were not many manumissions inter vivos 12 in some 
measure owing to the provisions of the act requiring secur- 
ity to be given in such case against the free man becoming 
a public charge, there were not a few emancipated by will. 13 

ston in Early Years, Niagara Hist. Soc. Pub. No. 25; Buffalo Hist. Soc. Pub. 
Vol. 6, pp. 73-95. 

There was apparently no division in the Upper House although there 
were five other Councillors in addition to Cartwright and Hamilton in attend- 
ance that session, viz.: McGill, Shaw, Duncan, Baby and Grant; and the bill 
passed the committee of the whole. 

12 Slaves were valuable even in those days. A sale is recorded in Detroit 
of a "'Certain Negro man Pompey by name" for £45 New York Currency 
($112.50) in October, 1794; and the purchaser sold him again January, 1795, 
for £50 New York Currency ($125.00). (Mich. Hist. Coll., XIV, p. 417.) 
But it would seem that from 1770 to 1780 the price ranged to $300 for a man 
and $250 for a woman (Mich. Hist. Coll., XIV, p. 659). The number of 
slaves in Detroit is said to have been 85 in 1773 and 179 in 1782 (Mich. Hist. 
Coll., VII, p. 524). 

13 A number of interesting wills are in the Court of Probate files at 
Osgoode Hall, Toronto. One of them deserves special mention, viz.: that of 
Robert I. D. Gray, the first Solicitor General of the Province, whose death was 
decidedly tragic. In this will, dated August 27, 1803, a little more than 
a year before his death, he releases and manumits "Dorinda my black woman 
servant . . . and all her children from the State of Slavery," in consequence 
of her long and faithful services to his family. He directs a fund to be 
formed of £1,200 or $4,800 the interest to be paid to "the said Dorinda her 
heirs and Assigns for ever." To John Davis, Dorinda 's son, he gave 200 
acres of land, Lot 17 in the Second Concession of the Township of Whitby 
and also £50 or $200. John, after the death of his master whose body servant 
and valet he was, entered the employ of Mr., afterwards Chief, Justice Powell; 
but he had the evil habit of drinking too much and when he was drunk he 
would enlist in the army. Powell got tired of begging him off and after a 
final warning left him with the regiment in which he had once more enlisted. 
Davis is said to have been in the battle of Waterloo; he certainly crossed the 
ocean and returned later on to Canada. He survived till 1871, living at Corn- 
wall, Ontario, a well-known character — with him, died the last of all those 

The Slave in Canada 61 

The number of slaves in Upper Canada was also di- 
minished by what seems at first sight paradoxical, that is, 
their flight across the Detroit Eiver into American terri- 
tory. So long as Detroit and its vicinity were British in 
fact and even for some years later, Section 6 of the Ordi- 
nance of 1787 "that there shall be neither slavery nor in- 
voluntary servitude in the said territory otherwise than 
as punishment of crime" was a dead letter: but when 

who had been slaves in the old Province of Quebec or the Province of Upper 

In the Canadian Archives, M. 393, is the copy of a letter, the property of 
the late Judge Pringle of Cornwall, by Eobert I. D. Gray to his sister Mrs. 
Valentine dated at Kempton, February 16, 1804, and addressed to her "at 
Captain Joseph Anderson's, Cornwall, Eastern District": speaking of a trip 
to Albany, New York, he says: 

"I saw some of our old friends while in the states, none was 1 more 
happy to meet than Lavine, Dorin 's mother. Just as I was leaving Albany I 
heard from our cousin Mrs. Garret Stadts who is living in Albany in obscurity 
and indigence owing to her husband being a drunken idle fellow, that Lavine 
was living in a tavern with a man of the name of Broomly. I immediately 
employed a friend of mine, Mr. Eamsay of Albany, to negotiate with the man 
for the purchase of her. He did so stating that I wished to buy her freedom, 
in consequence of which the man readily complied with my wishes, and 
altho' he declared she was worth to him £100 (i.e., $250) he gave her to me 
for 50 dollars. When I saw her, she was overjoyed and appeared as happy 
as any person could be, at the idea of seeing her child Dorin, and her children 
once more, with whom if Dorin wishes it, she will willingly spend the re- 
mainder of her days. I could not avoid doing this act, the opportunity seemed 
to have been thrown in my way by providence and I could not resist it. She 
is a good servant yet — healthy & strong and among you, you may find her 
useful, I have promised her, that she may work as much or as little as she 
pleases while she lives — but from the character I have of her, idleness is not 
her pleasure, I could not bring her with me, she wanted to see some of her 
children before she sets out; I have paved the way for her, and some time 
this month, Forsyth, upon her arrival here will forward her to you. . . ." 

Then follows a pathetic touch: 

"I saw old Cato, Lavine 's father at Newark, while I was at Col 1, Ogden'e; 
he is living with Mrs. Governeur — is well taken care of & blind — poor fellow 
came to feel me, for he could not see, he asked affectionately after the 
family. ' ' 

In the will of the well-known Colonel John Butler of Butler's Eangers 
there are bequests to his son Andrew of "a negro woman named Pat": to 
his grandson John of "a Negro Boy named George . . . until the said negro 
arrives at the years that the Law directs to receive his freedom" and to 
John's sister Catharine "a negro girl named Jane" for a similar time. 

62 The Slave in Canada 

Michigan was incorporated as a territory in 1805, the Ordi- 
nance of 1787 became legally and at least in form effec- 
tive. Many slaves made their way from Canada to Detroit, 
then a real land of the free ; so many, indeed, that we find 
that a company of Negro militia composed entirely of 
escaped slaves from Canada was formed in Detroit in 1806 
to assist in the general defence of the territory. 14 

14 Michigan Hist. Coll., XIV, p. 659. But the actual effect of the Ordi- 
nance of 1787, even after 1805 was not absolute. "As late as 1807 Judge 
Woodward refused to free a negro man and woman on a writ of habeas 
corpus, holding in effect that as they had been slaves at the time of the sur- 
render in 1796, there was something in Jay's Treaty that forbade their 
release." Michigan as a Province, Territory and State, 1906, p. 339. "There 
is a tradition that even as late as the coming of Gen. John T. Mason, as Sec- 
retary of the Territory in 1831, he brought some domestic slaves with him 
from Virginia. It is not improbable that a few domestic servants continued 
with their old Masters down to the time of the adoption of the State Con- 
stitution" (in 1835). Ibid., p. 338, note. 

Before Detroit and its adjoining territory were given up by the British to 
the Americans under Jay's Treaty, August, 1796, there were many instances 
of slaves escaping from the United States territory to British territory in 
that neighborhood and vice versa. One instance of escape from British ter- 
ritory will suffice. 

Colonel Alexander McKee, a well-known and very prominent Loyalist of 
Detroit, lost a mulatto slave in 1795 and his friend and colleague Captain 
Matthew Elliott sent a man David Tait to look for him in what is now 
Indiana. Tait's success or want of success is shown by his affidavit before 
George Sharp a justice of the peace for the Western District of Upper 
Canada residing in Detroit. The whole deposition will be given as it illus- 
trates the terms on which the two peoples were living at the time in that 
country, and shows that even then the charges were made which were after- 
wards made one of the pretexts for the War of 1812. It is given in the 
Mich. Hist. Coll., Vol. XII, pp. 164, 165. 


"I being sent by Captain Elliott in search of a Molato man name Bill 
the property of Colonel McKee, which was thought to be at Fort Wayne, But 
on my Arrival at the Glaize was inform 'd by the officer there that he was 
gone, they said he had gained his liberty, by getting into their lines he being 
stole from their Country. 

"They abused the Gentlemen in this place very & Told me that Governor 
Sancom (Simcoe) Colonel England and Captain Elliott caused bills in print to 
be dropped near their fort, Encouraging their Soldiers to desert. 

"They called Coll McKee & Capt Elliott dam'd rasculs and said that they 
gave the Indians Rum to make them Drunk to prevent them from going to 
Counsil & That Capt Brent they said was a Dam'd rascul and had done every- 

The Slave in Canada 63 

The number of slaves in Upper Canada cannot be ascer- 
tained with anything approaching accuracy. The returns 
of the census of 1784 show that very many of the 212 slaves 
in the District of Montreal, which then extended from the 
Eivers St. Maurice and Godfrey to the Detroit Eiver de 
jure and to the Mississippi de facto, were the property of 
the United Empire Loyalists on the St. Lawrence in terri- 
tory which in 1791 became part of the new Province of 
Upper Canada. 

The settlement crept up the St. Lawrence and Lake 
Ontario so as to be as far as the Eiver Trent by the end 
of the eighteenth century : and Prince Edward County had 
also its quota of settlers. Until the nineteenth century had 
set in there were practically no settlers from the Trent to 
near York (Toronto) but that splendid territory of level 
clay and loam land covered by magnificent forests of beech 
and maple gradually filled in and by the 30 's was fairly 
well settled. In the latter territory there were very few, 
if any, slaves. 15 

Farther east, however, in what became the Eastern and 
Midland Districts there were many slaves. It is probable 
that by far the greatest number had their habitat in that 
region. When York became the provincial capital (1796-7) 
slaves were brought to that place by their masters. In the 
Niagara region there were also some slaves, in great part 
bought from the Six Nation Indians as some of these in the 
eastern part of the province were bought from the Mis- 
thing in his power against them. But they said in Course of Nine Months 
that they Expected to be in full possession of Detroit and all the Country 
between their & it & I begged liberty to withdraw when Major Hunt told me 
to make the best of my way from Whence I came, while I was getting ready 
to return the Serjeant of their Guard came & Told me it was the Majors 
orders that I should leave the place immediately & not to stay about any of 
the Indian Camps. Which Orders I obeyed. 

(signed) David Tait. 
Sworn before me at Detroit 4th August 1795. 

Geo Sharp, J. P. W. D." 
Indian Affairs, M. G. VII. 

1 5 I have found no reliable accounts of slaves in this region — some tradi- 
tions which I have investigated proved unreliable and illusory. 

64 The Slave in Canada 

sissaguas who had a rendezvous on Carleton Island near 
Kingston. In the Detroit region there were many slaves, 
some of them Panis ; 16 and many of both kinds, Panis and 
Negro bought from the Shawanese, Pottawattaimies and 
other Western Indians, taken for the most part from the 
Ohio and Kentucky country. Most of these slaves were 
west of the river, few being in the Province of Upper 
Canada de jure. Omitting Detroit, the number of slaves 
in the province at the time of the Act of 1793 was prob- 
ably not far from 500. 17 

In the Eastern District, part of which became the Dis- 
trict of Johntown in 1798, there were certainly some slaves. 
Justus Sherwood one of the first settlers brought a Negro 
slave Caesar Congo to his location near Prescott. Caesar 
was afterwards sold to a half pay officer Captain Bottom 
settled about six miles above Prescott and after about 
twenty years service was emancipated by his master. 
Caesar afterwards married a woman of color and lived in 
Brockville for many years and until his death. Daniel 
Jones another old settler had a female Negro slave and 
there were a few more slaves in the district. 18 

16 I cannot trace many Panis slaves in Upper Canada proper ; that there 
were some at Detroit is certain and equally certain that some were at one time 
on both shores of the Niagara River. I do not know of an account of the 
numbers of slaves at the time; in Detroit, March 31, 1779, there were 60 male 
and 78 female slaves in a population of about 2,550 (Mich. Hist. Coll., X, 
p. 326) ; Nov. 1, 1780, 79 male and 96 female slaves in a somewhat smaller 
population (Mich. Hist. Coll., XIII, p. 53) ; in 1778, 127 in a population of 
2,144 (Mich. Hist. Coll., IX, p. 469); 85 in 1773, 179 in 1782 (Mich. Hist. 
Coll., VII, p. 524); 78 male and 101 female (Mich. Hist. Coll., XIII, p. 54). 
The Ordinance of Congress July 13, 1787, forbidding slavery "northwest of 
the Ohio River" passed with but one dissenting voice, that of a delegate from 
New York, was quite disregarded in Detroit (Mich. Hist. Coll., 1, 415) ; and 
indeed as has been said, Detroit and the neighboring country remained British 
(de facto) until August, 1796, and part of Upper Canada from 1791 till 
that date. 

17 This is indicated by a number of facts none of much significance and 
all together far from conclusive — but it is a mere estimate perhaps not much 
more than a guess and I should not be astonished if it were proved that the 
estimate was astray by 100 either way. Indeed contemporary estimates gave 
for the Nassau District alone in 1791, 300 Negro slaves and a few Panis. 
Col. Mathew Elliott in 1784 brought more than 50 slaves to his estate at 

The Slave in Canada 65 

It is possible that this part of the province was the home 
of a Negro who at the age of 101 appeared at the Assize 
Court at Ottawa in 1867 to give evidence. He was born in 
the Colony of New York in 1766, had been brought to Upper 
Canada by his master, a United Empire Loyalist, had 
fought through the war of 1812 on the British side, was 
present at the Battles of Chippewa and Lundy's Lane and 
was wounded at Sackett's Harbor. 19 

In the Midland District at Kingston such leading fami- 
lies as the Cartwrights, Herkimers and Everetts were slave 
owners. Further west the Euttans, Bogarts, Van Al- 
stynes, 20 Petersons, Aliens, Clarks, Bowers, Thompsons, 
Meyers, Spencers, Perrys, Pruyns, speaking generally all 
the people of substance had their slaves. 21 

18 See letter of Sheriff Sherwood, Papers 4'c, Ontario Historical Society 
1901, Vol. 3, p. 107. Justus Sherwood came from Vermont, originally from 
Connecticut, joined Burgoyne's army in 1777 and came to Canada in 1778, 
joined Rogers' Rangers and served during the war. He came to Prescott in 
1784. He had had a not unusual experience with the Continentals. His 
"Negroe wench and two negroe children" had been seized and" sold to Wm. 
Drake." (Second Out. Arch. Bep., 1904, p. 820.) Daniel Jones, father of 
Sir Daniel Jones of Brockville, came from Charlotte County, New York (ibid., 
p. 398). He was also a native of Connecticut. 

is He was in full possession of all his faculties and had been brought to 
Ottawa to prove the death of one person in 1803 and of another in 1814. 
The action was Morris v. Henderson "Ottawa Citizen" May 3, 1867. Robert 
I. D. Gray mentioned in note 13 above, came from this district. 

20 A Van Alstyne — Major Peter Van Alstyne — was elected to represent 
Prince Edward County in the first Legislative Assembly when Philip Dorland 
was unseated because he would not take the prescribed oath being a Quaker. 

21 See the interesting paper read before the Women's Historical Society 
of Toronto by Mrs. W. T. Hallam, B.A., and published in The Canadian 
Churchman, May 8, 1919, republished in pamphlet form. I am authorized by 
Mrs. Hallam to make full use of her researches and I take advantage of this 
permission. Mrs. Hallam has also the following: 

1 ' There is an old orchard between Collins Bay and Bath, Ontario, now 
used as a garden, which belongs to the Fairfield family. The children of this 
Loyalist family brought the seeds in their pockets from the old home in Ver- 
mont, and here lie buried the slaves belonging to the Fairfield and Pruyn 
families. On the way over they milked the cows, which were brought with 
them, and sometimes the milk was the only food which they had. The old 
Fairfield Homestead, built in 1793, is still standing, but the negro quarters are 
unused, for as those who live there say, 'On a hot day you would declare the 
slaves were still there.' " 

66 The Slave in Canada 

It may be noted that there are many records of births, 
deaths and marriages of slaves. In the Eegister for the 
Township of Fredericksburg (Third Township) of the 
Eeverend John Langhorn, Anglican clergyman, we find in 
1791, November 13, that he baptized "Bichard son of 
Pomps and Nelly a negro living with Mr. Timothy Thomp- 
son." 22 On October 6, 1793, "Kichard surnamed Pruyn a 
negro, living with Harmen Pruyn," on March 2, 1796, 
"Betty, snrnamed Levi, a negro girl living with Johannes 
Walden Meyers' ' of the Township of Thurlow. On April 
22, 1805, "Francis, son of Violet, a negro woman living 
with Hazelton Spencer 23 Esq. by Francis Green." We find 

Miss Alice Fairfield of the White House, Collins Bay, a descendant of 
these Fairfields gives the following account in a paper read before the 
Woman's Historical Society, Toronto (of which Mrs. Seymour Corley of 
Toronto has been good enough to furnish me a copy) "In March 1799, 
Stephen Fairfield married Maria Pruyn (from Kinder Hook, N. Y.), whose 
marriage portion included several slaves. They remained with the family as 
a matter of course after the law had given them their freedom. Of their 
devotion a story is told — "Mott" the old black nurse of my great grand- 
mother walked to York (Toronto) a distance of 160 miles in cold weather to 
warn her of a plot against her property — the shoes were literally worn off her 
feet." The writer adds "The Tory branch of the Fairfield family that came 
to Canada were from Paulet County, Vermont . . . they brought some 
'niggers' as they called their black slaves, into Canada." "The first apples 
grown in the country were raised from the seeds of apples with which the 
children had filled their pockets at the old home." 

A contributor to the Napanee Banner writes: 

"There has been considerable controversy of late whether slaves ever 
were owned in this section of Canada. The Aliens brought three slaves with 
them who remained with the family for years. Thomas Dorland also had a 
number of slaves who were members of the house-hold as late as 1820. The 
Pruyns who lived on the front of Fredericksburg had, we are informed, over 
a dozen slaves with them. The Euttans of Adolphustown brought two able- 
bodied slaves with them. Major Van Alstyne also had slaves; so had John 
Huyck who lived north of Hay Bay, and the Bogarts near neighbors, and the 
Trampours of the opposite side of Hay Bay. The Clarks of Ernestown, now 
called Bath, owned slaves who were with them years after their residence in 
Canada. The Everetts of Kingston Township and the Cartwrights of King- 
ston had theirs." 

22 A man of considerable note: in 1800 appointed with Eichard Cart- 
wright, Commissioner to settle the finances between the two Provinces. 

23 Member for Lenox, Hastings and Northumberland Counties in the first 
Legislative Assembly: and afterwards Sheriff. 

The Slave in Canada 67 

that "Francis, son of Violet ... by Francis Green as was 
supposed" was buried January 17, 1806. 24 

In a paper by the late J. C. Hamilton, a barrister of 
Toronto, he says that Lieutenant Governor Sir Alexander 
Campbell had favored him with a note concerning slaves 
at Kingston, which concluded "I had personally known two 
slaves in Canada : one belonging to the Cartwright and the 
other to the Forsyth family. 25 When I remember them in 
their old age, each had a cottage, surrounded by many com- 
forts on the family property of his master and was the 
envy of all the old people in the neighborhood." 26 

York (Toronto) and its neighborhood were settled later 
but they received their quota of Negro slaves, at least the 
town did. In 1880, the Gazette at York announces to be 
sold "a healthy strong negro woman, about thirty years 
of age; understands cooking, laundry and the taking care 
of poultry. N. B. She can dress ladies' hair. Enquire 
of the Printers, York, Dec. 20, 1800.' ' 27 

The best people in the capital owned Negroes. Peter 
Kussell who had been administrator of the government of 
the province and therefore the head of the State adver- 
tised in the Gazette and Oracle of February 19, 1806 : 

"To be sold: a Black Woman named Peggy, aged forty 
years and a Black Boy her son named Jupiter, aged about 
fifteen years, both of them the property of the Subscriber. 
The woman is a tolerable cook and washerwoman and per- 
fectly understands making soap and candles. The boy is 
tall and strong for his age, and has been employed in the 
country business but brought up principally as a house 
servant. The price of the woman is one hundred and fifty 
dollars. For the boy two hundred dollars payable in three 

2 * The Pruyns of Fredericksburg are credited with owning more slaves 
than any other family in that region. Mrs. Hallam, ut supra, p. 4. 

The above extracts are taken from the Registers published by the Ont. 
Hist. Soc, Vol. 1. 

25 Both prominent families in Kingston. 

26 Trans. Can. Inst., Vol. 1 (1889-1890), p. 106. 

27 For this and the following incident see that most interesting book 
"Toronto of Old" by Henry Scadding, D.D., Toronto, 1873, pp. 293, 294, 295. 

68 The Slave in Canada 

years with interest from the day of sale and to be secured 
by bond, &c. But one-fourth less will be taken for ready 
money. ' ' 

Peggy was not a satisfactory slave, she had awkward 
visions of freedom. On September 2, 1803, Eussell ad- 
vertised: "The subscriber's black servant Peggy not 
having his permission to absent herself from his service, 
the public are hereby cautioned from employing or har- 
bouring her without the owner's leave. Whoever will do 
so after this notice may expect to be treated as the law 
directs.' ' 

Peggy was not the only slave who was dissatisfied with 
her lot. On March 1, 1811, William Jarvis, the Secretary 
of the Province "informed the Court that a negro boy and 
girl, his slaves, had the evening before been committed to 
prison for having stolen gold and silver out of his desk in 
Ms dwelling house and escaped from their said master; 
and prayed that the Court would order that the said 
prisoners with one Coachly a free negro, also committed 
to prison on suspicion of having advised and aided the said 
boy and girl in eloping with their master's property. ..." 
It was "ordered that the said negro boy named Henry 
commonly called Prince be recommitted to prison and there 
safely kept till discharged according to law and that the 
said girl do return to her said master and Coachly be dis- 
charged. ' ' 29 

Jarvis had slaves when he resided at Niagara. We find 
in the Eegister of St. Mark's Parish there an entry of Feb- 

28 Henry Scadding's Toronto of Old, p. 296. Dr. Scadding, speaks of his 
"in former times" gazing at Amy Pompadour with some curiosity. 

Miss Elizabeth Eussell, sister of the Administrator, had a slave, a pure 
Negro Amy Pompadour, whom she gave to Mrs. Denison wife of Captain John 
Denison, an old comrade in arms of her brother's. 

29 Ibid., p. 292. The boy if he had stolen his master's money would be 
guilty of grand larceny, a capital offence at the time and consequently not 
tried at the Quarter Sessions. He was, therefore, recommitted to prison to 
await the Court of Oyer and Terminer and General Gaol Delivery commonly 
called the Assizes. 

The master probably withdrew the charge against the girl and Coachly, 
or they may have been so fortunate as that there was no evidence against them. 

The Slave in Canada 69 

ruary 5, 1797, of Moses and Phoebe, Negro slaves of Mr. 
1 ' Sec 'y Jarvis. ' ' Nor is this a unique entry, for we find this : 
"1819 April 4, Cupitson Walker and Margt. Lee (of 
Colour )," but these may have been free. 

There were baptized : ' ' 1793, January 3, Jane a daughter 
of Martin, Col. Butler's Negro/ ' "1794, September 3, Cloe, 
a mulatto,' ' "1800, March 29, Peggy a mulatto (filia 
populi)," "1807, May 10, John of a negro girl (filius 
populi) " and in the same list was a soldier shot for deser- 
tion, a soldier who shot himself, "an unfortunate stranger," 
"R. B. Tickel, alas he was starved," an Indian child, "Cut- 
nose Johnson, a Mohawk chief" and there is recorded 
the burial of "Mrs. Waters a negro woman," September 
29, 1802. 30 

Slaves continued to run away. Colonel Butler in the 
Upper Canada Gazette of July 4, 1793, advertised a reward 
of $5 for his "negro-man servant named John." 31 On 
August 28, 1802, Mr. Charles Field of Niagara advertised 
in the Herald: "All persons are forbidden harbouring, em- 
ploying or concealing my Indian Slave Sal, as I am de- 
termined to prosecute any offender to the extremity of the 
law and persons who may suffer her to remain in or upon 
their premises for the space of half an hour, without my 

30 See the lists in the Ont. Hist. Soc. Payers (1901), Vol. 3, pp. 9 sqq. 

In the list of marriages are found: ''1797, Oct. 12, Cuff Williams and 
Ann, Negroes from Mr. C. McNabb"; ''1800, Dec. 1, Prince Eobinson and 
Phillis Gibson, Negroes " and six other marriages down to 1831 between per- 
sons "of Colour". These last were probably not slaves. 

That Joseph Brant, " Thayendinaga, " the celebrated Indian Chief, had 
Negro slaves has been confidently asserted and as confidently denied. That 
there were Negroes in his household seems certain and their status was inferior. 
Whether he called them slaves or not, it is probable that he had full control 
of them. See Stone's Life of Brant, New York, 1838. He rather boasted of his 
slaves. • He was attended on his journeys and at table by two of them, Patton 
and Simon Ganseville. Hamilton in his Osgoode Hall, Toronto, 1904, says 
(p. 21): "Thayendinaga lived surrounded with slaves and retainers in bar- 
barous magnificence at Burlington." But that is rhetoric. 

3i Trans. Can. Inst., Vol. 1 (1889-1890), p. 105. 

70 The Slave in Canada 

written consent will be taken as offending and dealt with 
accordingly." 32 

There was always a demand for good slaves. For ex- 
ample, in the Gazette and Oracle of Niagara October 11, 
1797, W. & J. Crooks of West Niagara " Wanted to pur- 
chase a negro girl of good disposition": a little later, 
January 2, 1802 the Niagara Herald advertised for sale 
"a negro man slave, 18 years old, stout and healthy; has 
had the Smallpox and is capable of service either in the 
house or out-doors. The terms will be made easy to the 
purchaser, and cash or new lands received in payment." 
On January 18, 1802, the Niagara Herald proclaimed for 
sale: "the negro man and woman, the property of Mrs. 
Widow Clement. They have been bred to the business of 
a farm ; will be sold on highly advantageous terms for cash 
or lands." 33 

Slavery in Upper Canada continued until the Imperial 
Act of 1833 34 but there does not seem to be any record of 
sales after 1806. Probably the last slaves to become free 
were two who are mentioned by the late Sir Adam Wilson, 
Chief Justice successively of the Courts of Common Pleas 
and Queen's Bench at Toronto. These were "two young 
slaves, Hank and Sukey whom he met at the residence of 
Mrs. O'Beilly, mother of the venerable Miles O'Beilly, Q. 
C, in Halton County about 1830. They took freedom 
under the Act of 1833 and were perhaps the last slaves in 
the province." 35 

32 Dr. Scadding ut supra, p. 295. This is almost the only trace of Panis 
slavery in Upper Canada, proper, which I have found. The attempt to make 
a crime by the advertiser is not without precedent or imitation : it was, however, 
merely a threat and a ~brutum fulmen. 

33 Dr. Scadding ut supra, pp. 294, 295. 

Such advertisements as these of 1802 indicate an uneasiness as to the 
security of the slave property. Dr. Scadding remarks "Cash and lands were 
plainly beginning to be regarded as less precarious property than human 
chattels/' ibid., p. 295. 

3 * See supra, p. 51. 

ss Trans. Can. Inst., ut supra, p. 106. 

These if actual slaves could not have been very young. If they were 
brought into the province after the Act of 1793 they would become free ipso 

The Slave in Canada 71 

In the Detroit neighborhood there were undoubtedly 
many slaves, Panis and Negro : most of these were lost to 
the province on the delivery up of the retained territory in 
1796 under the provisions of Jay's Treaty. But some were 
on the Canadian side and some were brought over by their 
masters on the surrender. Colonel Matthew Elliott who 
settled in 1784 just below Amherstburg brought many 
slaves, some sixty it is said. The remains of slave quar- 
ters are still in existence on the place. Jacques Duperon 
Baby the well-known fur-trader had at least thirty. 

Antoine Louis Descompte dit Labadie, who raised a 
family of thirty-three children was the owner of slaves 
also. He was a wealthy farmer of the Township of Sand- 
wich (now Walkerville) and died in 1806, aged 62. On 
May 26, 1806, he made at Sandwich his will by which he 
made the following bequest: "I also give and bequeath to 
my wife the use or service of two slaves that she may select, 
as long as she continues to be my widow. ' ' After a number 
of bequests there follows: "I will that all my personal 
property not here above bequeathed as well as my slaves 
with the exception of the two left to my wife, be portioned 
out or sold, and that the proceeds arising therefrom be 
equally divided between my said wife and the nine chil- 
dren 36 born out of my marriage with her." 

Some of these slaves were probably Panis. There is 
extant a parchment receipt dated at Detroit, October 10, 
1775, which reads : 

" Je certifie avoir vendu et livre au Sieur Labadie, une esclave 
Paniese 37 no-mmee Mannon pour et en consideration de la quan- 
tity de quatre-vingt minots 38 de Ble de froment qu'il doit me payer 

facto. If born after that Act they "would not properly speaking be slaves at 
all but only subject to service until the age of 25. 

If they were slaves they must have been at least 37 in 1830; but probably 
they were born after 1793 and had not attained the age of 25 in 1833. They 
might then be young as described by Sir Adam. 

36 Labadie had been twice married. 

37 For "Panise." 

ss The French minot is 39.36 litres; the Canadian 36.34 litres or 63.94 
pints — the bushel is 64 pints — the Canadian minot is consequently almost 
exactly one bushel. 

72 The Slave in Canada 

a mesure qu'il aura au printemps prochain, donne sous ma main 
au Detroit ce dixieme jour d'Octobre, 1775. 

Temoin (Signe) James Sterling 39 

Signe) John Porteous. 

Some of the reports of judges who presided over crim- 
inal assizes, moreover, contain references to slavery. Mr. 
Justice Powell tried a Negro, Jack York, with a jury at 
Sandwich for burglary in 1800. He was found guilty and 
in accordance with the law at that time, was sentenced 
to death. Powell respited the prisoner that the pleasure 
of the Lieutenant Governor might be known. The Lieu- 
tenant-Governor at that time was General Peter Hunter a 
rigid disciplinarian. Hunter wrote Powell that as York 
had been convicted of "the most atrocious offence without 
any circumstances of doubt or alleviation' ' he was to be 
hanged. "When York was made aware of his fate, he 
promptly escaped from the ramshackle gaol at Sandwich. 

In the proceedings Captain McKee informed the judge 
that the main witness had "been an Indian prisoner re- 
deemed by his father and had lived in his kitchen and he 
did not think her credit good. ' ' She was one of Mr. James 
Girty's three Negroes and "known to be saucy.' M0 

39 Essex Historical Society — Papers and Addresses, Vol. 1, Windsor, Ont. 
(1913), pp. 13, 39, 48-52. 

This is translated thus: "I certify that I have sold and delivered to Mr. 
Labadie a Panis slave called Manon for and in 'consideration of 80 minots 
(practically 80 bushels) of wheat which he is to pay me as he has it the coming 
spring — given under my hand at Detroit this 10th day of October, 1775. 
Witness: (Signed) 

(Signed) John Porteous. James Sterling. " 

40 The fact was that Jack York had broken into McKee 's dwelling house 
to commit rape and he had committed rape on the person of Mrs. Ruth Suffle- 
mine (or Stufflemine). 

Powell's report is dated from Mount Dorchester, September 22, 1800. 
Canadian Archives, Sundries V. C. 1792-1800 ; Hunter's decision in May is in 
Canadian Archives Letters Hunter to Heads of Departments, p. 65; York's 
escape is ibid., p. 84; the Death Warrant is referred to in Canadian Archives 
Sundries U. C. 1792-1800. 

There were certainly slaves in the Western District. The will of Antoine 
Louis Descomps Labadie made May 26, 1806, contains a bequest "I also give 
and bequeath to my wife Charlotte, the use or service of two slaves that she 

The Slave in Canada 73 

Another report nearly a score of years later may be of 
interest. It can be best understood in its historical setting. 
During the war of 1812, as soon as the American invasion 
of Canada began, prices of all commodities began to soar. 41 
There was a great demand for beef for the troops regular 
and militia and the commissariat was not too scrupulously 
particular to inquire the source whence it might come. 
The result was that a crime which had been almost un- 
known suddenly increased to alarmingly large proportions. 
Cattle roaming in the woods were killed and the meat sold 
to the army. Prosecutions were instituted in many cases. 
It was found that the perpetrators were generally, but by 
no means always, landless men, not infrequently refugee 
slaves, who had come to the province from the United 
States. The offence was punishable with death: 42 and con- 
victions were not hard to obtain. But the punishment of 
death was not in practice actually inflicted. 

Whatever the cause, the crime continued until normal 
conditions were reestablished when it became as rare as it 
had been before the war. At the Fall Assizes, 1819, at 
York before Mr. Justice Campbell and a jury, a man of 
color, Philip Turner, was convicted of stealing and killing 
a heifer and sentenced to death: Mr. Justice Powell who 

may select as long as she continues to be my widow.' ' "A black boy slave 
to Mrs. Benton, widow of the late Commodore of the Lakes" seems to have 
been as bad as Jack York. Convicted at Kingston of a house robbery, a 
capital crime he had the ' ' benefit of clergy ' ' that is, set free as a first offence. 
But he did not mend his ways. He committed burglary and was convicted at 
Kingston 1795 before Mr. Justice Powell. The judge sentenced him to be 
hanged but recommended a pardon. He said the boy was said to be 17 but 
looked no more than 15 and in view of his education as a slave he hoped that 
his " would not be the first capital example." Can. Arch., B. 210. 

41 In a memorial by the judges of the Court of King's Bench to the 
Lieutenant Governor, January 10, 1814, they point out that prices have doubled 
since the war. The prices before the war and at the time were of bread 1 / 
and 2 /; of beef 6 d and 1 /; of wood 7/6 and 15/. 

42 Before 1772, this was not a crime at all but only a civil trespass; the 
Waltham Black Act (1722) 9 George I, c. 22 made it a felony punishable with 
death without benefit of clergy. This continued to be the law in England until 
the Act (1827) 7, 8 George IV, c. 27 (Imp.), and in Upper Canada until 1841. 

74 The Slave in Canada 

had been in the Commission of Oyer and Terminer with 
Campbell reported to the Lieutenant-Governor 43 that there 
had as yet been no execution for this offence in the province 
and recommended that the sentence should be committed to 
banishment for life from His Majesty's dominions. 44 
Tradition has it that Turner was a refugee from the United 
States and begged to be hanged rather than sent back 
where he would be again enslaved. 45 

When the fugitive slave reached the soil of Upper 
Canada he became and was free with all the rights and 
privileges of any other freeman : but sometimes the former 
condition of servitude had unhappy results. One case will 
suffice. John Harris was a slave in Virginia. He rented 
a house in Eichmond and lived in it with his wife Sarah 
Holloway. Harris was a painter and gave the greater part 
of his earnings to his master. The wife earned money by 
washing and gave to her mistress part of her scanty earn- 
ings. The wife's second name was that of her master 
Major Halloway in whose house she had been married in 
1825 to Harris by the Eeverend Ei chard Vaughan, a Bap- 
tist minister, a free man. The couple had three children. 

In 1833 Harris effected his escape to Upper Canada and 
came to Toronto (then York) in the spring of 1834 under 
the name of George Johnstone. In 1847 he obtained from 
John Beverley Eobinson, Chief Justice of Upper Canada a 
deed of three acres of land part of Lot 12 in the First Con- 
cession from the bay east of the river Don in the Town- 
ship of York. He died without a will in February, 1851. 
The deserted wife after his escape married a man by the 

43 Sir Peregrine Maitland. 

44 Banishment existed as a punishment in Upper Canada until 1841, when 
it was finally abolished and succeeded by imprisonment. Banishment was a 
very common alternative for hanging. I have counted as many as four cases 
at one assize. 

45 The tradition is a floating and rather indefinite one. It has some 
plausibility but there is nothing which to my mind can be dignified by the 
name of proof. The facts of the Turner case will be found in a Report by 
Mr. (afterwards Chief) Justice Powell to Sir Peregrine Maitland 's Secretary 
Edward McMahon, November 1, 1819, Canadian Archives, Sundries, TJ. C, 1819. 

The Slave in Canada 75 

name of Brown. She continued a slave until the fall of 
Eichmond and died in 1869 or 1870. 46 

46 Canadian Archives, Q. 324, pp. 432, 436 Letter, June 8, 1818, from 
"Thos. N. Stewart, Capt. H. P. late Royal Newfoundland Regiment" to the 
Roght Honourable Earl Bathurst, dated from Barnstable, North Devon. 

Turning to a more pleasant subject, while it may not be strictly within the 
purview of this treatise, it may be permitted to bring to light from the files of 
the Canadian Archives a story of a poor black woman who showed true hu- 
manity. It may be considered by some at the expense of her patriotism. That 
will not be admitted by everyone, for what share did the Negro have in America 
in which he lived more than in Britain which offered him freedom? 

When in May, 1813, General Dearborn took Fort George in Upper Canada, 
one of his prisoners was Captain Thomas N. Stewart of the Royal Newfound- 
land Regiment who was wounded. Taken to the United States, he was with 
several other British officers kept for months a close prisoner at Philadelphia as 
a hostage under the retaliation system. 

"At length," said he, "I with fourteen other officers made my escape 
from the prison at Philadelphia by sawing off the iron bars with the springs of 
watches, but from the active search which was made ten of my companions 
were retaken in the course of three days. I . . . attribute my success (as well 
as that of two more British officers) in being enabled to elude the vigilance of 
the enemy to the kindness and humanity of a poor black woman to whose pro- 
tection we committed ourselves in our real character and situation: and not- 
withstanding a reward of one hundred dollars was offered for the apprehension 
of each officer without our even being able to reward her in an equal degree, 
she persevered in affording us comfort and accommodation, greatly to her own 
risk and loss by the total resignation of her small hut and a tender of her 
services to our use visiting us only at night with provisions, &c. This she con- 
tinued to do for eight days. When it was thought that the active search was 
in a great degree abated I ventured by night to leave the abode of this black 
woman with the intention of going to the Headquarters of the British Army 
in Canada and this I ultimately succeeded in accomplishing. ' ' 

His companions leaving one by one at different times also succeeded in re- 
turning to the service of their country. Having only $70 and having to travel 
600 miles, Capt. Stewart could give the woman only $20: and all she received 
from all the officers was only $50. He wrote Earl Bathurst, Secretary of State 
for War and the Colonies asking that she should be remunerated and saying 
that he would "be most happy to give the address and the source thro' which 
communication could be made. M 

Bathurst replied June 13, asking for particulars, and Captain Stewart 
June 18 wrote again on the eighteenth of June saying that the matter required 
the utmost circumspection and excusing himself from giving information until 
he had communication with America, hoping to point out the precise object 
whom "His Lordship has thought worthy of remuneration. ' ' No doubt the 
matter then passed into the Secret Service, as no further correspondence is pre- 
served in documents open to the public. 

Canadian Archives, Q 324, pp. 432, 436. 


76 The Slave in Canada 

About that time the eldest son came to Canada, and he 
brought an action as the heir-at-law against one Cooper, 
the person in possession. 47 All the facts were clear and the 
only difficulty in the way was as to the validity of the 
marriage of the Negro. Chief Justice William Buell 
Eichards, of the Court of Queen's Bench tried the case at 
the Fall Assizes, 1870, at Toronto. Evidence was given 
by a Virginia lawyer and judge that there was no law in 
Virginia either authorizing or forbidding the marriage of 
slaves because "slaves were property and not persons for 
marital purposes. ... In short, by the law of Virginia, 
slaves were but property, treated as property exclusively, 
except where by special Statute they were made persons." 48 

On this evidence, therefore, the Chief Justice dismissed 
the action. The plaintiff appealed to the full Court of 
Queen's Bench 49 urging that the slaves had done all they 
could to make their marriage legal. In vain, they were not 
British subjects and the rules of international law were 
too rigid to allow of the court holding the marriage legal. 
Mr. Justice Wilson in giving the judgment of the Court 
said : 

"This is, no doubt, an unfortunate conclusion, for the 
plaintiff is undoubtedly the child of John Harris and Sarah 

47 Two years after her first husband's death, that is, in 1853, the widow 
who had then married one Scott sold the lot to Mr. Boomer for $300. Mr. 
Boomer sold two acres to Edward Osborne and he to Cooper for $800. By 
1871 the land had appreciated in value so as to make it worth a lawsuit. Of 
course, the widow never had any right to sell the land, but it was at least 
ungracious for her son to repudiate her deed. 

48 The law of Virginia as to marriages of slaves even with the consent of 
the master was fully and clearly stated by the Court of Appeals of Virginia 
in the case of Scott v. Eaub (1872) 88 Virginia, 721. See also the decision 
of the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Hall v. United 
States, 92 U. S. 127; and in Alabama, Matilda v. Gardner, 24 Alabama, 719. 

49 The motion was heard in Trinity Term, 34 Victoriae i.e. in February, 
1871; see the report in 31 Upper Canada Queen's Bench Eeports, p. 182: Harris 
v. Cooper. The Court was composed of the Chief Justice William Buell Eich- 
ards, afterward Sir William Buell Eichards, Chief Justice of Canada, Mr. Jus- 
tice Joseph Curran Morrison, afterwards a Judge of the Court of Error and 
Appeal, and Mr. Justice Adam Wilson, afterwards successively Chief Justice 
of the Court of Common Pleas, and of the Court of Queen 's Bench. 

The Slave in Canada 77 

who were made man and wife in form and by all the usnal 
solemnities of real matrimony. The parents were of ma- 
ture age, of sound sense, reason and understanding. The 
father had a trade which he followed by permission of his 
master for a yearly sum which he paid to him for the 
privilege, or as it is said 'he hired his own time/ He 
rented a house for himself; he was married with the con- 
sent of those who could give it by a minister in orders and 
in form at least under the sanction of religion: he lived 
with the woman he had taken as his wife and had children 
by her and left her only to gain his freedom; yet it is mani- 
fest by the force of positive human law, there was no 
marriage and no legitimate issue. ,,5 ° 

so 31 Upper Canada Queen's Bench Reports at p. 195, 1871. 

The Fugitive Slave in Upper Canada 

Before the Act of 1793, there was some immigration of 
slaves fleeing from their masters in the United States. 
After the Act of 1793, however, a slave by entering Upper 
Canada became free, whether he was brought in by his 
master or fled from him. Legislation of the United States 
in the same year 1 increased the number of those fleeing to 
the province under this law. Slaves who had effected their 
escape to what were considered free States were liable to 
be reclaimed by their masters. Shocking instances of the 
forcing into renewed slavery of the escaped slave and even 
of enslaving free persons of color are on record and there 
are told worse which never saw the open light of day. 

1 The first Fugitive Slave Law was passed by the United States in 1793. 
Three years afterwards occurred an episode, little known and less commented 
upon, showing very clearly the views of George Washington on the subject of 
fugitive slaves, at least of those slaves who were his own. 

A slave girl of his escaped and made her way to Portsmouth, N. H. ; 
Washington on discovering her place of refuge, wrote concerning her to Joseph 
Whipple the Collector at Portsmouth, November 28, 1796. The letter is still 
extant. It is of three full pages and was sold in London in 1877 for ten 
guineas. (Magazine of American History, Vol. 1, December, 1877, p. 759.) 
Charles Sumner had it in his hands when he made the speech reported in 
Charles Sumner's Works, Vol. Ill, p. 177. Washington in the letter described 
the fugitive and particularly expressed the desire of "her mistress" Mrs. 
Washington for her return to Alexandria. He feared public opinion in New 
Hampshire for he added: — 

"I do not mean by this request that such violent measure should be used 
as would excite a mob or riot which might be the case if she has adherents; 
or even uneasy sensations in the minds of well disposed citizens. Eather than 
either of these should happen, I would forego her services altogether and the 
example also which is of infinite more importance. ' ' 

In other words if the slave girl has no friends or "adherents," send her 
back to slavery — if she has and they would actively oppose her return, let her 
go — and even if it only be that "well-disposed citizens" disapprove of her 
capture and return, let her remain free. 


The Slave in Canada 79 

Eli Whitney's invention of the cotton gin about the 
same time 2 made slaves much more valuable and not only 
checked the movement toward gradual emancipation but 
increased the ardor with which the fugitive was pursued. 
From 1793 the influx of fugitive slaves into the province 
never quite ceased. The War of 1812 saw former slaves 
in the Canadian militia fighting against their former 
masters and Canada as an asylum of freedom became 
known in the South by mysterious but effective means. 
"As early as 1815 negroes were reported crossing the 
Western Reserve to Canada in great numbers and one 
group of Underground Railway workers in Southern Ohio 
is stated to have passed on more than 1000 fugitives before 
1817. " 3 

It is not proposed here to give an account of the cele- 
brated Underground Railway. It is sufficient to say that 
it was the cause of hundreds of slaves reaching the prov- 
ince. 4 Some slaves escaped by their own efforts in what 
can fairly be called a miraculous way. No more dramatic 
or thrilling tales were ever told than could be told by some 
of these refugees. Some having been brought by their 
masters near to the Canadian boundary then clandestinely 
or by force effected a passage. Some came from far to 
the South, guided by the North Star. Many were assisted 
by friends more or less secretly. These refugees joined 

2 Whitney's first patent was 1784. His rights were firmly established in 

3 Landon, Canada 's Part in Freeing the Slave, Ontario Historical Society, 
Papers, etc. (1919), quoting Birney's James G. Birney and His Times, p. 435. 

Mr. Landon 's paper is of great interest and value and I gladly avail 
myself of the permission to use it. 

* A fairly good account of the Underground Eailway will be found in 
William Still's Underground Bailroad, Philadelphia, 1872, in W. H. Mitchell's 
Underground Eailway, London, 1860; in W. H. Siebert's Underground Eailway, 
New York, 1899, and in a number of other works on Slavery. Considerable 
space is given the subject in most works on Slavery. 

One branch of it ran from a point on the Ohio Eiver, through Ohio and 
Michigan to Detroit; but there were many divagations, many termini, many 
stations; Oberlin was one of these. See Dr. A. M. Boss, Memoirs of a Re- 
former, Toronto, 1893, and Mich. Hist. Coll., XVII, p. 248. 

80 The Slave in Canada 

settlements with other people of color freeborn or freed 
in the western part of the Peninsula, in the counties of 
Essex and Kent and elsewhere. 5 Some of them settled in 
other parts of the province, either together or more usually 
sporadically. Toronto received many. These were su- 
perior to most of their race, for none but those with more 
than ordinary qualities could reach Canada. 6 

The masters of runaway slaves did not always remain 
quiet when their slaves reached this province. Sometimes 
they followed them in an attempt to take them back. There 
are said to have been a few instances of actual kidnapping. 
There were some of attempted kidnapping. Most of these 
are merely traditional but at least one is well authenti- 
cated. 7 

In May, 1830, a young man with finely chiselled features, 
bright hazel eyes, apparently a quadroon or octoroon ap- 
plied for service at the house of Charles Baby, "the old 
Baby mansion in the . . . historical town of Sandwich" 
in Upper Canada on the Detroit Eiver. He said he had 
escaped from slavery in Kentucky, had arrived on the 
previous evening at Detroit and had crossed the river to 
Canada as quickly as possible. He had been a mason but 
understood gardening and attending to horses and had 
other accomplishments. He was engaged and proved a 

5 The Buxton Mission in the County of Kent is well known. The Wilber- 
force Colony in the County of Middlesex was founded by free Negroes but 
they had in mind to furnish homes for future refugees. See Mr. Fred Lon- 
don's account of this settlement in the recent (1918) Transactions of the 
London and Middlesex Hist. Soc., pp. 30-44. For an earlier account see A. 
Steward's Twenty Years a Slave (Eoehester, N. Y., 1857). 

6 "The Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence and the violent take it by 
force." There can be no doubt that the Southern Negro looked upon Canada 
as a paradise. I have heard a colored clergyman of high standing say that 
of his own personal knowledge dying slaves in the South not infrequently 
expressed a hope to meet their friends in Canada. 

7 Souvenirs of the Past, by William Lewis Baby, Windsor, Ontario, 1896. 
Mr. Baby is a member of an old French-Canadian family of the highest repute 
for honor and public service. Charles Baby was the author's brother. The 
author lived with him and tells the story of his own knowledge. The quota- 
tions are from Mr. Baby's book. 

The Slave in Canada 81 

satisfactory servant "respectful, cleanly, capable, lithe and 
active as a panther. ' ' His former master came from Ken- 
tucky and reclaimed him after the lapse of six months. 
The recognition was mutual and immediate. The Ken- 
tuckian, offered $2000 to Baby for the return of Andrew 
his former slave, but the offer was indignantly refused. It 
turned out that Andrew had taken his master's favorite 
horse to assist him in his flight but had turned it loose after 
riding it some twenty-five miles. Whether for this reason 
or for some other, the Kentuckian did not appeal for the 
extradition of Andrew 8 but determined to use violence. 

A short time afterwards five desperadoes from Detroit 
attempted to kidnap Andrew while the family were at 
Church, but they were successfully resisted by Andrew and 
Charles Baby until the service was over and the people 
were seen hastening home. The would-be kidnappers made 
their escape across the river. Finding it dangerous to 
keep Andrew so near the border, the neighbors took up 
a subscription and he was sent by stage to York (Toronto). 
This place he reached in safety. "He made good" and 
lived a respectable and useful life undisturbed by any fear 
of Kentucky vengeance. 9 

The law as to such attempts was authoritatively stated 
in 1819 by John Beverley Robinson, Attorney General of 
Upper Canada, afterwards Sir John Beverley Eobinson, 
Bart., Chief Justice of Upper Canada. The opinion will 
be given in his own words : 10 

"In obedience to Your Excellency's comments I have perused 
the accompanying letter from G. C. Antrobus Esquire, His 
Majesty's charge d' affaires at the Court of Washington and have 
attentively considered the question referred to me by Your Excel- 
lency thereupon — namely — " "Whether the owners of several Negro 
Slaves who have fled from the United States of America and are 
now resident in this Province can be permitted to come hither and 

s As was done in the case of Solomon Mosely, spoken of infra, p. 85. 

9 I have not been able to verify other tales of attempted abduction to my 
satisfaction; there are, however, several stories which may be true. 

10 Canadian Archives Sundries, 77. C, 1819. 

82 The Slave in Canada 

obtain possession of their property, and whether restitution of 
such Negroes can be made by the interposition of the government 
of this Province" and I beg to express most respectfully my opinion 
to your Excellency that the Legislature of this Province having 
adopted the Law of England as the rule of decision in all ques- 
tions relative to property and civil rights, and freedom of the 
person being the most important civil right protected by those 
laws, it follows that whatever may have been the condition of these 
Negroes in the Country to which they formerly belonged, here 
they are free — For the enjoyment of all civil rights consequent to 
a mere residence in the country and among them the right to 
personal freedom as acknowledged and protected by the Laws of 
England in cases similar to that under consideration, must not- 
withstanding any legislative enactment that may be thought to 
affect it, with which I am acquainted, be extended to these Negroes 
as well as to all others under His Majesty's Government in this 
Province. The consequence is that should any attempt be made by 
any person to infringe upon this right in the persons of these 
Negroes, they would most probably call for, and could compel the 
interference of those to whom the administration of our Laws is 
committed and I submit with the greatest deference to Your Ex- 
cellency that it would not be in the power of the Executive Gov- 
ernment in any manner to restrain or direct the Courts or Judges 
in the exercise of their duty upon such an application. ' ni 

Then came a number of applications for the return of 
runaway slaves cloaked under criminal charges, the pre- 
tence being made that they had committed some crime and 
that it was desired to bring them to trial and punishment. 
There can be no doubt that in the absence of some constitu- 
tional provision every country has the right to keep out 
criminals and, if they have entered the country, to hand 
them over to the authorities of the country whence they 
came ; but the rules of international law have never gone so 
far as to make it obligatory on any country to send away 
immigrant criminals even if demanded by their former 
country. It has always been the theory in Upper Canada 
that the Governor had the power independently of statute 

11 John Beverley Bobinson was the son of Christopher Robinson mentioned 

The Slave in Canada 83 

or treaty to deliver up alien refugees charged with crimes. 12 
This was not wholly satisfactory and the legislature took 
the matter up and passed an act governing such cases, Feb- 
ruary 13th, 1833, 13 providing for the apprehension of fugi- 
tive offenders from foreign countries, and delivering them 
up to justice. This provides that on the requisition of the 
executive of any foreign country the governor of the prov- 
ince on the advice of his executive council may deliver 
up any person in the province charged with "Murder, 
Forgery, Larceny or other crime which if committed within 
the province would have been punishable with death, cor- 
poral punishment, the pillory, whipping or confinement at 
hard labour/ ' The person charged might be arrested and 
detained for inquiry, but the act was permissive only and 
the delivery up was at the discretion of the Governor-in- 

It was under this act that the extradition of Thornton 
Blackburn was sought but finally refused. The case was 
this: Two persons of color named Blackburn, a man and 
his wife, were claimed as slaves on behalf of some person 
in the State of Kentucky. They were arrested in Detroit 
in 1833 and examined before a magistrate, who, in accord- 
ance with the law of the United States, made his certificate 
and directed them to be delivered over as the personal 
property of the claimant in Kentucky. The sheriff took 
them into custody but when one of them was on the point 

12 The same rule obtained in Lower Canada; (1827) re Joseph Fisher, 
1 Stuart's L. C. Eep. 245. 

i3 This is the Act (1833), 3 Will IV, c. 7 (U. €.). This statute came 
forward as cap. 96 in the Consolidated Statutes of Upper Canada, 1859, but 
was repealed by an Act of (United) Canada (1860), 23 Vic. c. 91 (Can.). 

The Act of 1833 was drawn by Chief Justice Eobinson and introduced by 
him into the Legislative Council of which he was Speaker — it was a ' ' Govern- 
ment measure." Notice of bringing in the bill was given November 28, 
1832; the bill brought in November 30; read the second time December 3 
passed the committee of the whole on the fourth of December and was finally 
passed by the Council the following day. It reached the Legislative Assembly 
the same day where it was passed without opposition and received the Royal 
Assent February 13, 1833. 

84 The Slave in Canada 

of being removed from the prison to be restored to bis 
owner, he was violently rescued and directed across the 
river into Canada. On the day before the rescue of Thorn- 
ton Blackburn his wife eluded the jailer in disguise and 
escaped to Canada. 

The Upper Canadian Government was, therefore, called 
upon to return these prisoners to the United States. Upon 
examining the record in the case, however, the Attorney Gen- 
eral of Upper Canada in reply to the Governor for infor- 
mation in the case, advised that the so-called offences of 
Thornton Blackburn in trying to effect his own escape from 
persons seeking to return him to slavery could not be con- 
strued as rioting or rescuing a prisoner from an officer of 
the law as had been set forth in the requisition papers from 
the Michigan authorities and certainly could not be applied 
to Thornton Blackburn's wife who, as the evidence showed, 
had taken no part at all in the rescue. 

The council 14 was thereafter called upon to consider the 
question whether, if a similar charge had been committed 
in Canada, the offenders would be liable to undergo any of 
the punishments provided for in the act passed at the 
session of the Canadian Legislature in 1833. The Attorney 
General 15 was of the opinion that had the Governor been 
confined to the official requisition that had accompanied it, 
he might have been warranted in delivering up these 
persons inasmuch as there was evidence on which, accord- 
ing to the terms of the Canadian law, a magistrate would 
have been warranted in apprehending and committing for 

14 At the meeting were present His Excellency Sir John Oolborne, K. C. B. 
Lieutenant Governor, the Hon. and Eev. John Strachan, DJD., Archdeacon of 
York, the Honorable Peter Bobinson, the Honorable George Herchmer Mark- 
land, the Honorable Joseph Fells, and the Honorable John Elmsley. The Execu- 
tive Council at that time was very much under the influence of the Chief 
Justice and Dr. Strachan, then Archdeacon afterwards the first Anglican 
Bishop of York or Toronto. 

is Eobert Sympson Jameson an English barrister of the Middle Temple, 
a familiar friend of Coleridge and Southey and the husband of Anna Jameson 
of some literary note. 

The report is from the Canadian Archives, State J., p. 137. 

The Slave in Canada 85 

trial persons charged with riot, forcible rescue and assault 
and battery. The Attorney General believed, however, 
that the Governor and the Council were not confined to 
such evidence since, though limited in their authority to 
enforcing the provisions of the act against fugitives from 
foreign States, on being satisfied that the evidence would 
warrant the commitment for trial, yet in coming to that 
conclusion, they were bound to hear not ex parte evidence 
alone but matter explanatory to guide their judgment; for 
even with the authority so to do, they were not required 
to deliver up any prisoner so charged, if for any reason 
they deemed it inexpedient so to do. 

The conclusion of the Attorney General, therefore, was 
that Blackburn and his wife were not charged with any 
of the offences enumerated in the statute of Canada and 
that the Governor and Council were not authorized by its 
provisions to send them out of the province. He said, 
moreover: "It has not escaped our attention as a peculiar 
feature in this case that two of the persons whom the 
Government of this Province is requested to deliver up are 
persons recognized by the Government of Michigan as 
slaves and that it appears upon these documents that if 
they should be delivered up they would by the laws of the 
United States be exposed to be forced into a state of 
slavery from which they had escaped two years ago when 
they fled from Kentucky to Detroit; that if they should be 
sent to Michigan and upon trial be convicted of the riot 
and punished they would after undergoing their punish- 
ment be subject to be taken by their masters and continued 
in a state of slavery for life, and that, on the other hand, 
if they should never be prosecuted, or if they should be 
tried and acquitted, this consequence would equally follow.' ' 

The next case was not so happy in its result. It caused 
much excitement at the time and is not yet forgotten. 
Solomon Mosely or Moseby, a Negro slave, came to the 
province across the Niagara Eiver from Buffalo which he 
had reached after many days travel from Louisville, Ken- 

86 The Slave in Canada 

tucky. His master followed him and charged him with the 
larceny of a horse which the slave took to assist him in 
his flight. That he had taken the horse there was no 
doubt and as little that after days of hard riding he had 
sold it. The Negro was arrested and placed in the Niagara 
Gaol. A prima facie case was made out and an order sent 
for his extradition. 16 

!6 The Executive Council on September 7th 1837 recommended his extradi- 
tion. The following is a copy of the Proceedings: 

Executive Council Chamber at Toronto Thursday 7th September 1837 
Requisition for Solomon Mosely 

Read the Requisition of the Governor of the State of Kentucky and other 
documents relating to the surrender of Solomon Mosely a fugitive from the 
State of Kentucky charged with Horse stealing. 

Read also the Attorney General opinion thereon as follows: 

Attorney General's Office 
Toronto 6th September 1837 

I have the honor to report that in my opinion there is sufficient proof of 
the guilt of Solomon alias John Mosely a fugitive from the State of Kentucky 
charged with horse stealing in that Country — to Warrant His Excellency the 
Lieutenant Governor (with the advice of the Executive Council) to deliver him 
up upon the request made by the Governor of the State referred to. 

I have the honor to be &c 

(Signed) Cs Hagerman, Atty, Gen 
J Joseph Esq, 

Civil Secretary. 

The Council concur in the above opinion of the Attorney General and 
consider that the ease comes within 3rd Wm 4 Ch 7 and therefore advise His 
Excellency the Lieutenant Governor to deliver up the Fugitive alluded to in 
the requisition of His Excellency the Governor of the State of Kentucky. 

— Can. Arch. State J. Upper Canada, p. 595. 

In a despatch from Head to Lord Glenelg, October 8, 1837, Can. Arch. 
Q. 398, p. 149, Head says: "In a case brought before me only a few days 
previous to that which is the subject of this communication (i.e., the Jesse 
Happy case) I insisted on giving up to the Governor of the Commonwealth 
of Kentucky (a slave) who in order to effect his escape had been guilty of 
stealing his Master's horse. It was suggested that the real object was to 
get him back to his Master — not to punish him for the crime. But the crime 
was perfectly proved and the Council followed the judicial opinion in the 
Thornton Blackburn case that as the black had been shown to have committed 
an offence clearly coming within the statute of 1833, they could not advise a 
course to be taken different from that which should be pursued with respect 
to free white persons under the same circumstances." They, therefore, ad- 
vised an order for extradition. 

The Slave in Canada 87 

The people of color of the Niagara region made the 
Mosely case their own and determined to prevent his de- 
livery up to the American authorities to be taken to the 
land of the free and the home of the brave, knowing that 
there for him to be brave meant torture and death, and 
that death alone could set him free. Under the leadership 
of Herbert Holmes, a yellow man 17 a teacher and preacher, 
they lay around the jail night and day to the number of 
from two to four hundred to prevent the prisoner's de- 
livery up. At length the deputy sheriff with a military 
guard brought out the unfortunate man shackled to a 
wagon from the jail yard, to go to the ferry across the 
Niagara Eiver. Holmes and a man of color named Green 
grabbed the lines. Deputy Sheriff McLeod gave the order 
to fire and charge. One soldier shot Holmes dead and 
another bayoneted Green, so that he died almost at once. 
Mosely, who was very athletic leaped from the wagon and 
made his escape. He went to Montreal and afterward to 
England, finally returning to Niagara, where he was joined 
by his wife, who also escaped from slavery. 

An inquest was held on the bodies of Holmes and Green. 
The jury found "justifiable homicide' ' in the case of 
Holmes. "Whether justifiable or unjustifiable" there was 
not sufficient evidence before the jury to decide in the 
case of Green. The verdict in the case of Holmes was the 
only possible verdict on the admitted facts. Holmes was 
forcibly resisting an officer of the law in executing a legal 
order of the proper authority. In the case of Green the 
doubt arose from the uncertainty whether he was bayon- 
eted while resisting the officer or after Mosely had made 
his escape. The evidence was conflicting and the fact has 
never been made quite clear. No proceedings were taken 
against the deputy sheriff; but a score or more of the 
people of color were arrested and placed in prison for a 

17 To his people he seems to have been known as (t Hubbard Holmes"; he 
is always called a "yellow man," whether mulatto, quadroon, octoroon or 
other does not appear. 

88 The Slave in Canada 

time. The troublous times of the Mackenzie Bebellion 
came on and the men of color were released, many of them 
joining a Negro militia company which took part in pro- 
tecting the border. 

The affair attracted much attention in the province and 
opinions differed. While there were exceptions on both 
sides, it may fairly be said that the conservative and gov- 
ernment element reprobated the conduct of the blacks in 
the strongest terms, being as little fond of mob law as of 
slavery, and that the radicals including the followers of 
Mackenzie, looked upon Holmes and Green as martyrs in 
the cause of liberty. That Holmes and Green and their 
followers violated the law there is no doubt ; but so did Oliver 
Cromwell, George Washington and John Brown. Every 
one must decide for himself whether the occasion justified 
in the courts of Heaven an act which must needs be con- 
demned in the courts of earth. 18 

It was, however, only when the alleged crime was recent 
and followed up promptly that the rigid rule of extraditing 
slaves accused of crime was applied. A case which came 
before the Executive Council a few days after Mosely's is 
a good illustration of the care taken in such cases. Jesse 
Happy, a slave in Kentucky, had made his escape to 
Canada, stealing a horse with which he outran his pur- 
suers. Knowing the indisposition of the Canadian authori- 
ties to return fugitives from slavery, the Governor of Ken- 
tucky undertook to have this fugitive extradited on the 
ground that he was charged with a felony in that common- 
wealth. It appeared that the real object of the application 
from Kentucky was not so much to bring Happy to trial 
for the alleged felony as to reduce him again to a state of 
slavery. In the report of the Attorney General reference 
was made to an application for extradition in a case in 

18 The contemporary accounts of this transaction, e.g., in the Christian 
Guardian of Toronto, and the Niagara Chronicle, are not wholly consistent. 
The main facts are clear; although there is some doubt as to the time, the 
military guard were ordered to fire. 

The Slave iist Canada 89 

which the offence had been recently committed, and because 
of this fact the requisition was honored. In the case of 
Jesse Happy, however, the alleged offence had been com- 
mitted four years prior to making an effort to have him 
extradited. No process had been issued in the State of 
Kentucky nor had any steps been taken to punish him for 
felony. It was suggested, therefore, that the real object of 
this apprehension was to give him up to his former owners 
and to deprive him of the personal liberty secured to him 
by the laws of Canada. 

As the delivery of the slave under these circumstances 
would subject him to a double penalty, the one of being 
punished for the crime and the other of being returned 
to a state of slavery even if he should be acquitted, the 
Canadian authorities were in a dilemma; for punishment 
of the felony was in strict accordance with the statutes of 
Canada whereas the enslavement of the fugitive was in 
direct opposition to the genius of its institutions and the 
spirit of its laws. Yet as the council 19 could not take the 
position that because a man happened to be a fugitive slave 
he should escape the consequences of crime committed in 
a foreign country to which a free man would be amenable, 
action was suspended so as to give the accused time to 
furnish affidavits of the facts set forth in the petition on his 
behalf, and not wishing to make of this a precedent with- 
out the support of the highest authority, the matter was 
submitted to the Government in England with a request for 
their views upon this case as a matter of general policy. 20 

Lord Palmerston having had the matter brought to his 
attention by Lord Grlenelg, Secretary of State for War and 
the Colonies, recognized its very great importance. He ac- 
cordingly had it submitted to the Law Officers of the Crown. 

19 Present, Allen, Hon. Augustus Baldwin and Hon. William Henry 
Draper (afterwards Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, 1856, Chief 
Justice of the Province of Upper Canada, 1863, and President of the Court of 
Error and Appeal 1868 till his death, 1877). 

20 Canadian Archives State J., p. 597. 

90 The Slave in Canada 

The opinion of these officers Sir John Campbell and Sir 
Eobert Mousey Eolfe appears from a letter from W. T. H. 
Fox Strangeways, Parliamentary Secretary of State for 
Foreign Affairs addressed February 25, 1838, to Sir 
George Gray of the Colonial Department. This officer 

"I have received and laid before Viscount Palmerston 
your Letter to me of the 6 December 1837 with its accom- 
panying copy of a Dispatch from Sir Francis Head, in 
which that officer requests Instructions for his guidance, in 
the general case of Fugitive Slaves who, having escaped to 
Canada may be demanded from the Canadian Authorities 
by the Authorities of the United States on the plea of their 
having committed crimes is the last mentioned Country and 
in the particular case of Jesse Happy, who having escaped 
to Upper Canada more than four years ago, had been 
demanded from the Lieut. Governor of that Province, upon 
the ground of a charge of Horse Stealing. 

" These two questions have by direction of Lord Pal- 
merston been submitted to the Law Officers of the Crown, 
and I am directed by his Lordship to state to you the 
opinion of these officers for the information of Lord 

"The Law Officers report upon the general question, 
that they think that no distinction should in the case con- 
templated, be made between the demand for Slaves or for 

"It is the opinion of the Law Officers that in every case 
in which there is such Evidence of criminality as, accord- 
ing to the terms of the Canadian Statutes, would warrant 
the apprehension of the accused Party, if the alleged of- 
fence had been committed in Canada, then on the requisi- 
tion of the Governor of the Foreign State, the accused 
Party ought to be delivered up, without reference to the 
question as to whether he is or is not a Slave. 

' i The Law Officers desire however that it should be dis- 

The Slave in Canada 91 

tinctly understood, that the Evidence for this Purpose must 
be evidence taken in Canada, upon which (if false) the 
Parties making it may be indicted for Perjury. 

"The Law Officers remark further on this point that 
the 3rd Section of the Provincial Statute enables the Gov- 
ernor to refuse to deliver up a Party, whenever special cir- 
cumstances may render it inexpedient to accede to the de- 
mand made to the Governor on such a point. 

"The Law Officers, reporting upon the subject of Jesse 
Happy state that they do not think that there was in that 
case such evidence of criminality, as, according to the Laws 
of the Province of Upper Canada would warrant the ap- 
prehension of Jesse Happy if the offence charged had been 
committed in U. Canada. 

"The Law Officers indeed go farther, and say that so 
far as there is any evidence of the Facts, what took place 
was not Horse Stealing according to the Laws of Upper 
Canada, but merely an unauthorized use of a horse, with- 
out any intention of appropriating it. 

"The Law Officers conclude by stating, that upon these 
grounds, they are of opinion, that Jesse Happy ought to be 
set at liberty, and that instructions to that effect should be 
sent to the Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada." 21 

On the ninth of May Glenelg wrote to Sir George Arthur 
who succeeded Bond Head as Lieutenant Governor of 
Upper Canada, saying: "With reference to my Dispatch to 
Sir Francis Bond Head of the 4th December last No 255, I 
enclose for your information the copy of a letter from the 
Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs stating the 
substance of the opinion given by the Law Officers of the 
Crown in respect to the restitution of Fugitive Slaves who 
may be demanded from the Government of Upper Canada 

2i Canadian Archives, G. 84, p. 277. The letter to Sir George Arthur is 
Hid., G. 84, p. 275. The despatch from Lord Glenelg to Sir Francis Bond 
Head dated January 4, 1837, has endorsed on it a pencil memorandum "Jesse 
Happy has been liberated by Lieutenant Governor's command November 14, 
1837," ibid., G. 83, p. 238. 


92 The Slave in Canada 

on the plea of their having committed crimes at the places 
from which they have fled. In conformity with the opinion 
of the Law Officers of the Crown I have to desire that Jesse 
Happy, the individual with respect to whom this question 
was raised shall be forthwith set at liberty." 

It is impossible not to see that the very stringent rules 
laid down by the Law Officers of the Crown at Westminster 
were intended to be in favor em libertatis. Happy was re- 
leased November 14th, 1837, and so far as appears from 
the official records no further application was ever made 
for the extradition of a runaway slave until after 1842. 
That year the well-known Ashburton Treaty was con- 
cluded 22 between Britain and the United States. This by 
Article X provides that "the United States and Her 
Britannic Majesty shall, upon mutual requisitions . . . de- 
liver up to justice all persons . . . charged with murder, 
or assault with intent to commit murder, or piracy or arson 
or robbery or forgery or the utterance of forged paper. 
. . . ' ' Power was given to judges and other magistrates to 
issue warrants of arrest, to hear evidence and if "the evi- 
dence be deemed sufficient ... it shall be the duty of the 
. . . judge or magistrate to certify the same to the proper 
executive authority that a warrant may issue for the sur- 
render of such fugitive.' ' 

It will be seen that this treaty made two important 
changes so far as the United States was concerned. It 
made it the duty of the executive to order extradition in a 
proper case and took away the discretion. It gave the 
courts jurisdiction to determine whether a case was made 
out for extradition. 23 These changes made it more difficult 

22 Concluded at Washington, August 9, 1842. 

23 It was held in the Province of Upper Canada that the Act of 1833 was 
superseded by the Ashburton Treaty in respect to the United States, but that 
it remained in force with respect to other countries (Reg. v. Tubber, 1854, 1, 
P. R. 98). Since the treaty our government has refused to extradite where the 
offence charged is not included in the treaty. In re Laverne Beebe (1863), 
3 P. R. 273 — a case of burglary. The provisions of the treaty were brought 
into full effect in Canada (Upper and Lower) by the Canadian Statute of 
1849, 12, Vie. c. 19; C. B. C. (1859), c. 89. 

The Slave in Canada 93 

in many instances for a refugee to escape; but the courts 
were astute as ever in finding reasons against the return 
of slaves. 

The case of John Anderson is a well-known one in evi- 
dence. He was born a slave in Missouri. As his master was 
Moses Burton, he was known as Jack Burton. He married 
a slave woman in Howard County, the property of one 
Brown. In 1853, Burton sold him to one McDonald living 
some thirty miles away and his new master took him to his 
plantation. In September 1853 he was seen near the farm 
of Brown, when apparently he was visiting his wife. A 
neighbor, Seneca T. P. Diggs, became suspicious of him 
and questioned him. As his answers were not satisfactory 
he ordered his four Negro slaves to seize him, according to 
the law in the State of Missouri. The Negro fled, pursued 
by Diggs and his slaves. In his attempt to escape the fugi- 
tive stabbed Diggs in the breast and Diggs died in a few 
hours. Effecting his escape to this province, he was in 
1860 apprehended in Brant County, where he had been 
living under the name of John Anderson, and three local 
justices of the peace committed him under the Ashburton 
Treaty. A writ of habeas corpus was granted by the Court 
of Queen's Bench at Toronto, under which the prisoner 
was brought before the Court of Michaelmas Term of 1860. 

The motion was heard by the full court. 24 Much of the 
argument was on the facts and on the law apart from the 
form of the papers, but that was hopeless from the begin- 
ning. The law and the facts were too clear, although Mr. 
Justice McLean thought the evidence defective. The case 
turned on the form of the information and warrant, a some- 
what technical and refined point. The Chief Justice Sir 
John Beverley Eobinson, and Mr. Justice Burns agreed 
that the warrant was not strictly correct, but that it could 
be amended. Mr. Justice McLean thought it could not and 
should not be amended. 

2 * The Chief Justice Sir John Beverley Eobinson, Mr. Justice McLean 
(afterwards Chief Justice of Upper Canada) and Mr. Justice Burns. 

94 The Slave iist Canada 

The case attracted great attention throughout the prov- 
ince, especially among the Negro population. On the day 
on which judgment was to be delivered, a large number of 
people of color with some whites assembled in front of 
Osgoode Hall. 25 While the adverse decision was an- 
nounced, there were some mutterings of violence but the 
counsel for the prisoner 26 addressed them seriously and im- 
pressively, reminding them "It is the law and we must 
obey it." The melancholy gathering melted away one by 
one in sadness and despair. 

Anderson was recommitted to the Brantford Jail. 27 
The case came to the knowledge of many in England. It 
was taken up by the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery So- 
ciety and many persons of more or less note. An applica- 
tion was made to the Court of Queen's Bench of England 
for a writ of habeas corpus, notwithstanding the Upper 
Canadian decision, and while Anderson was in jail at 
Toronto, the court after anxious deliberation granted the 
writ 28 but it became unnecessary owing to further proceed- 
ings in Upper Canada. 

25 The se*at of the Superior Courts in Toronto, the Palais de Justice of 
the Province. 

26 Mr. Samuel B. Freeman Q. C, of Hamilton, a man of much natural 
eloquence, considerable knowledge of law and more of human nature; he was 
always ready and willing to take up the cause of one unjustly accused and 
was singularly successful in his defences. I have heard it said that it was 
Mr. M. C Cameron, Q. C, who so addressed the gathering but he does not 
seem to have been concerned in the case in the Queen's Bench. 

27 The case is reported in (1860) 20 U. Can. Q. B., pp. 124-123. The 
warrant is given at pp. 192, 193. 

28 The case is reported in (1861) 3 Ellis & Ellis Reports, (Queen's Bench, 
p. 487; 30, Law Jour., Q. B., p. 129; 7 Jurist N. S., p. 122; 3 Law Times, 
N. S., p. 622; 9 Weekly Rep., p. 255. 

It was owing to this decision that the statute was passed at Westminster 
(1862) 25, 26, Yic. c. 20, which by sec. 1 forbids the courts in England to 
issue a writ of habeas corpus into any British possession which has a court 
with the power to issue such writ. The Court was Lord Chief Justice Cock- 
burn and Justices Crompton, Hill and Blackburn, a very strong court. The 
Counsel for Anderson was the celebrated but ill-fated Edwin James. The writ 
was specially directed to the sheriff at Toronto, the sheriff at Brantford and 
the jail keeper at Brantford. Judgment was given January 15, 1861. 

The Slave in Canada 95 

In those days the decision of any Court or of any judge 
in habeas corpus proceedings was not final. An applicant 
might go from judge to judge, court to court 29 and the last 
applied to might grant the relief refused by all those previ- 
ously applied to. A writ of habeas corpus was taken out 
from the other Common Law Court in Upper Canada, the 
Court of Common Pleas. This was argued in Hilary Term, 
1861, and the court unanimously decided that the warrant 
of commitment was bad and that the court could not re- 
mand the prisoner to have it amended. 30 The prisoner was 
discharged. No other attempts were made to extradite 
him or any other escaped slave; and Lincoln's Emancipa- 
tion Proclamation put an end to any chance of such an 
attempt being ever repeated. 31 

29 Common Law of course, not Chancery. 

30 The court was composed of Chief Justice William Henry Draper, C. B., 
Mr. Justice Richards, afterwards Chief Justice successively of the Court of 
Common Pleas, of the Court of Queen's Bench and of the Supreme Court of 
Canada and Mr. Justice Hagarty, afterwards Chief Justice successively of the 
Court of Common Pleas, of the Court of King's Bench, and of Ontario. 

Mr. Freeman was assisted in this argument by Mr. M. C. Cameron, a 
lawyer of the highest standing professionally and otherwise, afterwards Justice 
of the Court of Queen's Bench and afterwards Counsel for the Crown on both 
arguments were Mr. Eccles, Q. C, a man of deservedly high reputation, and 
Robert Alexander Harrison, afterwards Chief Justice of the Court of Queen's 
Bench, an exceedingly learned and accurate lawyer. 

The case in the Court of Common Pleas is reported in Vol. 11. Upper Can., 
C. P., pp. 1 sqq. 

31 Canadian Archives, Sundries 77. C, 1807. 

It would be unfair to the United States to say or suggest that all the 
flights for freedom were in the one direction. Very early, trouble was ex- 
perienced by Canadian owners of slaves from their running away to the United 
States. The following letter tells its own story. D 1 . M. Erskine the British 
representative writing from New York, May 26, 1807, to Francis Gore, 
Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, says: 

"I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 24th 
ult enclosing a Memorial presented to you by the Proprietors of Slaves in the 
Western District of the Province of Upper Canada. 

"I regret equally with yourself the Inconvenience which His Majesty's 
subjects in Upper Canada experience from the Desertion of their slaves into 
the Territory of the United States, and of Persons bound to them for a term 
of years, as also of his Majesty's soldiers and sailors; but I fear no Repre- 
sentation to the Government of the United States will at present avail in 

96 The Slave in Canada 

checking the evils complained of, as I have frequently of late had occasion to 
apply to them for the Surrender of various Deserters under different circum- 
stances and always without success. 

"The answer that has been usually given, has been, 'That the Treaty 
between Great Britain & the United States which alone gave them the Power 
to surrender Deserters having expired, it was impossible for them to exercise 
such an authority without the Sanction of the Laws.' 

"I will however forward to His Majesty's Minister for Foreign Affairs 
the Memorial above mentioned in the Hope that some arrangements may be 
entered into to obviate in future the great Losses which are therein described. ' ' 

In the Life and Adventures of Wilson Benson, written by himself 
(Toronto, 1876), is found the following, pp. 34-36: 

"In 1849 I shipped on the schooner Eose of Milton, Capt. Hamilton, 
cruising on Lakes Ontario and Erie. In one trip to the town of Erie, Pennsyl- 
vania, for a cargo of coal, while lying at the dock, a diminutive negro man, 
with a white beard, came on board the vessel, and inquiried of me if this was 
a British vessel. On being informed that it was, he desired to be secreted, 
stating that he was a runaway slave, and that his pursuers were on his track. 
I at once secreted him in a closet which served as a store-room for vegetables, 
&c, and as we were almost ready to set sail, I did not discover his presence 
to either Captain or crew until we were some distance out on the lake. When 
he appeared, Capt. Hamilton inquired of me where I had obtained ' that child, ' 
and on being informed, expressed some anxiety, as we were liable to be cap- 
tured had we been followed by a steamer. As it was, he merely looked up at 
the rigging, and exclaimed, ' Blow, breezes, blow ! ' The negro, who knew no 
other name than l Sambo' we brought to Toronto. On one occasion, when I 
offered him some molasses, he shook his head and made grimaces expressive of 
disgust. He informed me that the slaves employed on the sugar plantations, 
when beaten by their masters, in order to obtain an indirect revenge, spat in 
the syrup, and committed other filthy things as an imaginary punishment upon 
the whites. I frequently saw Sambo in Toronto, and many times he expressed 
thankfulness to me for his deliverance. I may here mention that shortly after 
the arrival of Sambo on board the Eose of Milton at Erie, two suspicious- 
looking men, dressed in plain clothes, came aboard and paced up and down 
the deck several times, and as all the crew were absent at the time, I felt some 
apprehenson for the safety of the poor fugitive; but seeing nothing of a 
suspicious appearance, and the almost entire absence of the crew, they sauntered 
away. I made several other trips up and down the lakes during that summer 
on the same vessel.' ' 


Slavery in the Maritime Provinces 

The French population of the territory by the sea, the 
Acadians, are described by the poet as : 

Men whose lives glided on like rivers that water the woodlands, 
Darkened by shadows of earth, but reflecting an image of heaven. 

History does not bear out this idyll; but whatever their 
faults, at least the Acadians had the negative virtue of 
possessing no slaves, 1 Panis or Negro : nor was it until the 
coming of the people whose native air was too pure for a 
slave that the curse came upon the land. 

The permanent settlement by the English of Acadia may 
fairly be considered as beginning when in 1749 Cornwallis 
founded Halifax. 2 Negro slaves were among the popula- 
tion of Halifax from the beginning or very shortly after. 
Where they came from is uncertain and it has been sug- 
gested that they came with the original settlers across the 
ocean. In the absence of any other explanation more 
plausible, this might be accepted. Lord Mansfield's deci- 
sion in the Somerset case was a quarter of a century in the 
future. But it seems more probable that they were 
brought from the English Colonies, and some almost cer- 
tainly were. 

The official records of the country exhibit much evi- 
dence to this effect. In September, 1751, the Boston Even- 
ing Post advertised " Just arrived from Halifax and to be 
sold, ten strong hearty, Negro men mostly tradesman, such 

i So far at all events as appeared from any records that I have seen; it is 
just possible, however, that "La Liberte, le neigre" mentioned in de Meulles , 
Census of Acadia in 1696 was a black slave, notwithstanding his name. 

2 From 1720 on, Annapolis Royal had a fairly firm government and settle- 
ment but it was not until Halifax was founded that it became certain that the 
country would remain English. 


98 The Slave in Canada 

as caulkers, carpenters, sailmakers and ropemakers. 3 Any 
person wishing to purchase may enquire of Benjamin Halli- 
well of Boston.' ' Such an advertisement indicates that 
shipbuilding was slack at Halifax and more brisk at Bos- 
ton. A conjecture may be hazarded that these slaves had 
been taken by their master to Halifax to build ships and 
then returned to the colony when required no longer in 

Some such conjecture receives a little assistance from a 
will still on record in Halifax. It was made February 28, 
1752, by Thomas Thomas "late of New York but now of 
Halifax' ' and disposed of his "goods, chattels and negros" 
including one bequest to this effect: "all my plate and 
my negro servant Orange that now lives with me at Halifax, 
I leave and bequeath to my son." 

In the same year, The Halifax Gazette of May 15 con- 
tains the advertisement "Just imported and to be sold by 
Joshua Mauger at Major Lockman's store in Halifax, 
several Negro slaves as follows: A woman aged 35, two 
boys aged 12 and 13 respectively, two of 18 and a man 
aged 30." In the Halifax Gazette of Saturday, May 30, 
1752, sale is advertised thus: "Just imported and to 
be sold by Joshua Mauger, at Major Lockman's store in 
Halifax, several negro slaves, viz., a very likely negro 
wench, of about thirty-five years of age, a Creole born, has 
been brought up in a gentleman's family, and capable of 
doing all sorts of work belonging thereto, as needle-work 
of all sorts and in the best manner; also washing, ironing, 
cooking, and every other thing that can be expected from 
such a slave: also two negro boys of about 12 or 13 years 
old, likely, healthy, and well-shaped, and understand some 
English. Likewise two healthy negro slaves of about 18 
years of age, of agreeable tempers and fit for any kind of 
business : And also a healthy negro man of about 30 years 

s This and most of the facts, dates, etc., in this chapter are taken from 
the Eev. Dr. T. Watson Smith's fascinating article The Slave in Canada in the 
Nova Scotia Historical Society's Collections, Vol. X, Halifax, 1899. 

The Slave in Canada 99 

of age." In September 1759, a Halifax merchant, Malachy 
Salter wrote to his wife then visiting relatives in Boston 
informing her of the state of the family, saying that " Jack 
is Jack still bnt rather worse. I am obliged to exercise 
the cat or stick almost every day. I believe Halifax don't 
afford another such idle, deceitful villain"— "Pray pur- 
chase a Negro boy if possible. ,, 

In the year of the surrender of Montreal, the Halifax 
Gazette, November 1, 1760, advertised "To be sold at public 
auction on Monday the 3rd of November, at the house of 
Mr. John Rider, two slaves, viz., a boy and a girl, about 11 
years old ; likewise a puncheon of choice cherry brandy with 
sundry other articles." 

Some legal sanction, moreover, was given slavery. A 
General Assembly the first Elective Legislature in what is 
now Canada, met at Halifax in 1757. In 1762 the second 
session of the third General Assembly passed an act 4 
which seems not to have received very much attention from 
legists 5 and writers. It contains a recognition of slavery. 
The act provides by section 2 that "in case any soldier, 
sailor, servant, apprentice, bound servant or negro slave 
or any other person whatsoever shall leave any pawn or 
pledge with a vendor of liquor for the payment of any 
sum exceeding five shillings for liquor such soldier, sailor, 
servant, apprentice bound servant or negro slave ... or 
the master or mistress of such servant, apprentice, bound 
servant or negro slave" might by proceedings before a 
Justice of the Peace obtain an order for the restoration of 
the pawn or pledge— and the vendor might be fined 20 
shillings "for the use of the poor." 6 

For this reason slavery could easily continue as sub- 
sequent records prove. In July, 1767, Charles Proctor of 

* (1762) 2 George 111, c. 1 (N. S.), Statutes at Large, Nova Scotia, 
Halifax, 1805, p. 77. 

5 It is referred to in a letter from Ward Chipman to Chief Justice Blowers 
to be mentioned later. See post, p. 110, n. 21. 

e This Act was continued in 1784 by (1784) 24 George III, c. 14 (N.S.). 
Statutes at Large, Nova Scotia, p. 238. 

100 The Slave in Canada 

Halifax sold Louisa, a "Mulotta" girl, to Mary Wood of 
Annapolis for £15 currency 7 and next year Mary Wood 
assigned the girl to her daughter Mrs. Mary Day. In 
June, 1767, James Simonds of the St. John Eiver wrote to 
Hazen and Jarvis at Newburyport, Massachusetts, a letter 
in which he complains of "that rascal negro, West" who 
cannot be got to do a quarter of a man's work. In an 
advertisement in a Halifax paper in 1769 are offered for 
sale to the highest bidder "two hogsheads of rum, three of 
sugar and two well-grown negro girls aged 14 and 12.' ' 
These were clearly a consignment from the West Indies. 
The executors of John Margerum of Halifax deceased, in 
their accounts give credit for £29.9.44 "net proceeds of a 
negro boy sold at Carolina." In 1770 the executors of 
Joseph Gerrish of Halifax lost £30 on the sale of three 
Negroes for £150 to Eichard Williams and Abraham Con- 
stable, the Negroes having been appraised at £180: and a 
Negro boy named John Fame was not then sold. In April 
1770, Mrs, Martha Prichard of Halifax, widow, bequeathed 
to her daughter, wife of Moses Delesdernier a Negro slave 
woman named Jessie. If Mrs. Delesdernier did not wish 
to retain the slave, she was to be sold and the proceeds of 
the sale given to Mrs. Delesdernier. If she kept her, the 
slave at the death of Mrs. Delesdernier was to be the prop- 
erty of her son Ferdinand. By the same instrument the 
testatrix bequeathed to her grand-daughter a mulatto slave 
John Patten two and a half years old. 

By the census of the year 1771 the Eev. James Lyon, 
the first Presbyterian Minister in Nova Scotia, is shown to 
have owned a colored boy, the only Negro in the township 
of Onslow and John Young in the township of Amherst 
also a Negro boy, the only one in the township. In An- 
napolis, Magdalen Winnett owned a man, woman and girl ; 
Joseph Winnett owned a woman and a boy; Ebenezer 
Messenger and Ann Williams each a man, and John Stork 

7 "Halifax currency" was at this time nine-tenths of Sterling £10 cur- 
rency = £9 sterling and the 5 / dollar being 4/6 sterling. 

The Slave in Canada 101 

of Granville owned a man the only Negro in the township ; 
and Henry Evans of Annapolis had the previous year 
owned a colored girl. 

Jacob Hurd of Halifax offered in 1773 a reward of £5 
for the apprehension of his runaway Negro, Cromwell, a 
" short thick set strong fellow,' ' strongly pock marked 
" especially on the nose" and wearing a green cloth jacket 
and a cocked hat. In July 1773, in the Nova Scotia Gazette 
and Weekly Chronicle the executor and executrix of Joseph 
Pierpont of Halifax advertised "a Negro named Prince 
to be sold at private sale." This perhaps indicated a 
repugnance to offering human beings for sale by auction. 
In the Nova Scotia Gazette and Weekly Chronicle, March 
27, 1775 is an advertisement for the sale of a "likely well- 
made negro boy about 16 year old." 

In the inventory of the estate of the late John Kock 
appeared in 1776 a Negro woman named Thursday. She 
was inventoried at £25 but sold for £20. In this year also a 
Windsor farmer, Joseph Wilson left by will two Negro 
women Byna and Sylla to his wife. In January 1779 the 
Nova Scotia Gazette and Weekly Chronicle advertised for 
sale an able Negro woman, about 21 year old, "capable of 
performing both town and country work and an exceedingly 
good cook. ' ' In the same year Daniel Stratford of Halifax 
left to his wife a Negro man slave Adam for life, after her 
death to become the property of his daughter Sarah 
Lawson. Matthew Harris of Picton sold for £50 to 
Matthew Archibald of Truro, tanner, a ' ' Negro boy named 
Abram, about 12 years of age" born of Harris' Negro 
slave in Harris' house in Maryland. 

In 1780 rewards were offered, one of 3 guineas, for the 
apprehension and delivery at the office of the Command- 
ing Officer of Engineers at Halifax of two runaway Negro 
men; another "a handsome reward to be paid for secur- 
ing in any gaol a Negro boy Mungo about 14 years old and 
well built"— the owner Benjamin De Wolfe of Windsor to 
be notified. That year the executors of Colonel Henry 

102 The Slave in Canada 

Denny Denson of West Falmouth debit themselves with 
£75 received for " Spruce,' ' £60 for "John" and £30 for 
"Juba" and credit themselves with £2.11.6 paid for taking 
two of these to Halifax probably for sale there. 

Abel Michener of Falmouth advertised in 1781 a reward 
of £5 for the capture of a Negro named James ; and Samuel 
Mack of Port Medway wanted a Negro named "Chance" 

Eichard Wenman of Halifax in September of that year 
agreed to give his Negro, Cato, his liberty "if he will faith- 
fully serve my said daughter, Elizabeth Susannah Pringle 
two years." Captain Wilson of the transport Friends 
requested in 1782 that masters of vessels will not ship as a 
seaman his runaway Negro lad Ben, saying: "He is my 
own property. ' ' 

There is no need for further particularization ; for we 
now come to the year of the definitive peace between the 
mother country and the new republic. As in the upper 
country so by the sea there was a great influx of Loyalists, 
accompanied in many instances by their slaves. There- 
after sales, advertisements for auctions, rewards for run- 
away slaves, bequests of slaves, &c, are very common and 
there were some manumissions. That, however, was not 
the cause of the great increase in the Negro population of 
the Maritime Province. The Island of St. John, after- 
wards Prince Edward Island had been set off as a separate 
province in 1769 but the Province of Nova Scotia included 
what became the Province of New Brunswick until 1786. 

During the Eevolutionary War, the British com- 
manders, Sir Henry Clinton in particular, had made it a 
point to invite the slaves to the British line and many had 
accepted the invitation. No few of these refugees were of 
material service to the British troops in various ways both 
menial and otherwise. At the peace Washington demanded 
the return of these quondam slaves. 8 Sir Gruy Carleton 

8 It will be remembered that in the Treaty of Peace it was agreed by 
Article VII "His Britanic Majesty shall with all convenient speed and without 

The Slave in Canada 103 

refused but made a careful inventory of them with full 
description, name, former master, etc., so that Washington 
might claim compensation from the British Government, if 
he saw fit. 9 In addition to these slaves somewhere about 
3,000 freed Negroes accompanied the British troops on their 
withdrawal from New York, nearly all coming to Nova 
Scotia. Many of these after suffering great hardships 
were sent to Sierra Leone on the West Coast of Africa in 
1792. Some remained in the province where their de- 
scendants are found until this day; but not in any very 
great numbers. The Loyalists, however, retained their 
property in their own slaves; and immigration was en- 
couraged by the Act of 1790. 10 

The trade in Negroes was very brisk for some years. 
For example, on June 24, 1783, the Nova Scotia Gazette and 
Weekly Chronicle advertised for sale a Negro woman, "25 
years of age, a good house servant." On December 11, 
1783, Captain Alexander Campbell late of the South Caro- 
lina Loyalists sold to Captain Thomas Green late of the 
Eoyal Nova Scotia Foot a Negro woman named Nancy for 

causing any destruction or carrying away any negroes or other property of the 
American inhabitants withdraw his armies, garrisons and fleets from the said 
United States. ..." 

Sir Guy Carleton claimed that the Negroes who had taken refuge in the 
British lines at once lost their status of slavery and became free. They were 
"not Negroes or other property of the American/ ' a rather technical not to 
say finely drawn distinction but in favorem libertatis; and in any event Britain 
would not betray the helpless who had put their faith in her. 

Q Washington did make a claim ; but the United States had not carried out 
its part of the contract and Britain would not and never did pay. Jones' 
Loyalist History of New York, Vol. 2. p. 256, says that the number of Negroes 
who found shelter in the British lines was 2000 at least; probably this is an 
underestimate. Hay's Historical 'Reading at p. 249 gives the number of 
Negroes who came into Nova Scotia with their Masters at least 3000 — and of 
free Negroes 1522 at Shelburne, 182 at St. John River. 270 at Guysborough, 
211 in Annapolis County, and a smaller number at other places. 1200 were 
sent to Sierre Leone in 1792. 

io See ante, p. 37. The Negro population in 1784 estimated at about 3000 
was included in the 28,347 of Disbanded Troops and Loyalists called New 
Inhabitants, Can. Arch., Report for 1885, p. 10. There were some free Negroes 
in various companies of the British forces in one capacity or another. 

104 The Slave in Canada 

£40. Nancy two years later was sold by Green to Abraham 
Forst of Halifax and a year later still with her child Tom 
to Gregory Townsend. 

A shipment was made by John Wentworth from Halifax 
to Surinam, Dutch Guiana, of nineteen Negro slaves, "all 
American born or well seasoned . . . perfectly stout, 
healthy, sober, orderly, industrious and obedient.' ' These, 
said he, "I have had christened and would rather have 
liberated them than send them to any estate that I am not 
sure of their being treated with care and humanity which 
I shall consider as the only favour that can be done to me 
on this occasion "by his correspondent. 11 

On October 29, 1787, John Rapalje, a Eoyalist, sent from 
Brookligne (Brookland or Brooklyn Ferry) to George 
Leonard by desire of his (B's) father a Negro woman 
named Eve about 35 years and her child named Suke about 
15 to sell as he himself cannot go to Nova Scotia. Eve 
was one of the best servants "perfectly sober, honest" and 
the only fault she had was her near sight. 

The records show occasional manumission also. In 1784 
the inventory of the estate of John Porter late of Cornwallis, 
a Negro man is valued at £80. That same year Charles 
Montague of Halifax says: "I have only one Negro, named 
Francis; he is to have his freedom.' ' In May 1787, Mar- 

n The Negroes sent were Abraham, James, Lymas, Gyrus, John, Isaac, 
Quako, January, Priscella, Rachel, Venus, Daphne, Ann, Dorothy and four 
children Celia, William, Venus, Eleanora — reserving Matthew and Susannah at 
home. All these had been christened, February 11, 1784. " Isaac is a 
thorough good carpenter and master sawyer, perfectly capable of overseeing 
and conducting the rest and strictly honest; Lymas is a rough carpenter and 
sawyer; Quako is a field negro has met with an accident in his arm which 
will require some indulgence. The other men are sawyers and John also a 
good axeman. Abraham has been used to cattle and to attend in the house, 
&c. All the men are expert in boats. The women are stout and able and 
promise well to increase their numbers. Venus is useful in the hospital, poultry 
yard, gardens, etc. Upon the whole they are a most useful lot of Negroes." 

John Wentworth, last Eoyalist Governor of New Hampshire and after- 
wards Sir John Wentworth, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, doubtless 
believed himself to be a good man and a good Christian. 

The story of Eve and Suke infra is told by Archdeacon Raymond, 3 N. B. 
Mag., 1899, p. 221. 

The Slave in Canada 105 

garet Murray, widow of Halifax by her will manumitted 
her two Negro women Marianne and Flora; and (when he 
was 21) her Negro boy Brutus. From the records of a 
trial at Shelburne, in a magistrate's court in 1788 it ap- 
pears that one Jesse Gray of Argyle had sold a Negro 
woman for 100 bushels of potatoes. At a trial the owner- 
ship by Gray was proved and the sale confirmed. 

We now come to the times of a Chief Justice whose 
heart was set on destroying slavery in the province of 
Nova Scotia, therein wholly differing from the Chief Justice 
of New Brunswick, George Duncan Ludlow, who had re- 
ceived his appointment on the separation of that province 
in 1784. The forward-looking jurist was Thomas Andrew 
Strange who became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 
1791. 12 The same impulse for liberty which about this 
time was noted in the upper country mainfested itself from 
time to time by the sea. Slaves ran away from their 
masters ; the masters pursued and imprisoned them. Some 
blacks claimed freedom without fleeing. When a writ of 
habeas corpus came up in the Supreme Court, Chief Jus- 
tice Strange did his best to avoid giving a decision. He 
knew that slavery was lawful but he knew it was detest- 
able and he pursued a course which did not require him to 
stultify himself but which would nevertheless confer sub- 
stantial benefits upon the black claiming liberty. 

He endeavored in every case to bring the parties to an 
agreement to sign articles whereby the master would have 
the services of the Negro for a stated time, after the expira- 
tion of which the Negro received his freedom. When the 
master refused this, as sometimes there was a refusal, the 
Chief Justice required the matter to be tried by a jury, 
which usually found for the Negro. 13 

i 2 He went to England in 1796 (it was said, for a visit) resigned Ms posi- 
tion in Nova Scotia, was Knighted and appointed Recorder of Fort St. George, 
Bombay, India. 

13 A collateral ancestor of my own, the Reverend Archibald Riddell, had 
the advantage of a similar proceeding a century before. Being apprehended 
for taking part in the uprising of the Covenanters in Scotland he was given 

106 The Slave in Canada 

The practice adopted was like the practice in cases of 
alleged villenage in England. It was recognized that 
slavery might exist in Nova Scotia, but it was made as diffi- 
cult as possible for the master to succeed on the facts. 
Except the act already mentioned there was no statute 
recognizing slavery and an attempt in 1787 to incorporate 
such a recognition in the statute law failed of success by a 
large majority. The existing act, too, was given what 
seems a very forced and unnatural interpretation so as to 
emasculate it of any authority in that regard. 

Salter Sampson Blowers, the Attorney General, fully 
agreed with the Chief Justice's plan. On one occasion he 
threatened to prosecute a person for sending a Negro out 
of the province against his will. 14 The Negro managed to 
get back and the master acknowledged his right, so that no 
proceedings were necessary. After a number of verdicts 
for the alleged slaves, masters were generally very willing 

(or sold) with others to a Scottish Laird who chartered a vessel and proceeded 
to take his human chattels to America for sale. The plague broke out on the 
ship, the Laird and his wife died of it as did some of the crew. When the 
ship reached New Jersey, there being no master, the "slaves" escaped up 
country. The Laird's son-in-law and personal representative came to America 
and claimed Eiddell and others. The governor called a jury to determine 
whether they were slaves and the jury promptly found in their favor. Eiddell 
preached in New Jersey until the Eevolution of 1688 made it safe for him to 
return to Scotland. Juries in such cases are liable to what Blackstoue calls 
"pious perjury." All this practice was based upon the common law pro- 
ceedings when a claim was made of villenage. When a person claimed to be 
the lord of a villein who had run away and remained outside the manor unto 
which he was regardant, he sued out a writ of neif, that is, de nativo 
habendo. The sheriff took the writ and if the nativus admitted that he was 
villein to the lord who claimed him, he was delivered by the sheriff to the 
lord of the manor; but if he claimed to be free, the sheriff should not seize 
him but the Lord was compelled to take out a Pone to have the matter tried 
before the Court of Common Pleas or the Justices in Eyre, that is, the assizes. 
Or the alleged villein might himself sue out a writ of libertate probanda: and 
until trial of the case the lord could not seize the alleged villein. The curious 
will find the whole subject dealt with in Fitzherbert 's Natura Brevvwm, 
pp. 77 sqq. 

I* This is very much like the Chloe Cooley case in Upper Canada. I do 
not know what form the prosecution could possibly take if the Negro was in 
fact a slave. See Chapter V, note 5 ante, p. 55. 

The Slave in Canada 107 

to enter into articles whereby the slave after serving faith- 
fully for a fixed number of years was given his freedom. 

After Blowers became Chief Justice, 1797, 15 he con- 
tinued Chief Justice Strange 's practice with marked re- 
sults. In one case of which he tells where he had dis- 
charged a black woman from the Annapolis gaol on habeas 
corpus and an action had been brought, the plaintiff proved 
that he had bought her in New York; but the Chief Justice 
held that he had not proved the right of the seller so to 
dispose of her and directed the jury to find for the de- 
fendant which they promptly did. 

Slavery continued, however. Almost every year we 
find records of sales, advertisements for runaway slaves, 
bequests of slaves, &c, till almost the end of the first decade 
of the 19th century, the latest known bill of sale is dated 
March 21, 1807 and transfers a " Negro Woman named 
Nelly of the age of twenty five or thereabout." It was, 
however, decadent and from about the beginning of the 
19th century was quite as much to the advantage of the 
Negro in many cases as that of the master. 

16 It is said that August 1797 was the date of the last public slave sale 
at Montreal, that of Emmanuel Allen for £36. 

The last advertisement for sale by auction of a slave in the Maritime 
Provinces seems to be that in The Eoyal Gazette and Nova Scotia Advertiser 
of September 7, 1790, where William Millet of Halifax offers for sale by 
auction September 9 "A stout likely negro man and sundry other articles." 

In 1802 the census showed that there were 451 Blacks in Halifax; in 1791 
there were 422. 

Dr. T. Watson Smith says in a paper ll Slavery in Canada" republished 
in "Canadian History/' No. 12, December, 1900, at p. 321. 

"About 1806, so Judge Marshall has stated, a master and his slave were 
taken before Chief Justice Blowers on a writ of habeas corpus. When the 
case and the question of slavery in general had been pretty well argued on 
each side, the Chief Justice decided that slavery had no legal place in Nova 
Scotia. ' ' 

I have not been able to trace such a decision and cannot think that it has 
been correctly reported. Dr. Smith is wholly justified in his statement "there 
is good ground for the opinion that this baneful system was never actually 
abolished in the present Canadian Provinces until the vote of the British 
Parliament and the signature of King William IV in 1833 rendered it illegal 
throughout the British Empire. " 


108 The Slave in Canada 

A final effort to legalize slavery in Nova Scotia was 
made in 1808. Mr. Warwick, member for Digby Township, 
presented a petition from John Taylor and other slave 
owners setting up that the doubts entertained by the courts 
rendered their property useless and that the slaves were 
deserting and defying their masters. They asked for an 
act securing them their property or indemnifying them for 
their loss. Thomas Eitchie member for Annapolis intro- 
duced a bill to regulate Negro servants within the province. 
The bill passed its second reading January 11, 1808, but 
failed to become law; and the attempt was never renewed. 

New Brunswick was separated from Nova Scotia in 
1784. The Chief Justice of that province was not as averse 
from slavery as his brother of Nova Scotia. One of the 
most interesting and celebrated cases came before the Su- 
preme Court of New Brunswick in Hilary Term, February 
1800. Captain Stair Agnew who had been an officer in the 
Queen's Bangers settled opposite Fredericton. He was a 
man much thought of as is shown by his being chosen for 
thirty years to represent York County in the Legislature. 
He owned a slave Nancy Morton 16 who claimed her free- 
dom and whom apparently he had put in charge of one 
Caleb Jones. A writ of habeas corpus was obtained di- 
rected to Jones and the matter was arranged to be argued 
before the full court of four judges. For the applicant ap- 

i 6 I. Allen Jack, Q. C, D. C, L., of St. John, New Brunswick, gives a full 
account of this case from which (and similar sources) most of the facts are 
taken. In a paper read before the Royal Society of Canada May 26, 1898, 
Trans. B. S. Can., 1898, pp. 137 sqq., Dr. Jack conjectures that Nancy Morton 
is the Negro female slave conveyed by bill of sale registered in the office of 
the Register of Deeds, St. John's, N. B. Slaves were treated as realty as 
regards fieri facias under the Act of 1732 (see ante, p. 13, n. 12) and at least 
" savoured of the realty." The bill of sale registered January 31, 1791, was 
dated November 13, 1778, aud was executed by John Johnson of the Township 
of Brooklyn in King's County, Long Island, Province of New York. It con- 
veyed with a covenant to warrant and defend title to Samuel Duffy, Inn- 
keeper for £40 currency (say $100) "a, certain negro female about fourteen 
years of age and goes by the name of Nancy," pp. 141, 142. However that 
may be, Stair Agnew bought Nancy from William Bailey of the County of 
York in the Province of New Brunswick for £40 with full warranty of title 
as a slave. 

The Slave in Canada 109 

peared Ward Chipman 17 and Samuel Denny Street; for the 
master, Jonathan Bliss, Attorney General of the province, 
Thomas Wetmore, John Murray Bliss, Charles J. Peters 
and Witham Botsf ord, all men of ability and eminence. On 
the Bench were Chief Justice Ludlow and Puisne Justices 
Allen, Upham and Saunders. 

The addresses of the Attorney-General and Mr. Chip- 
man are extant. The former divided his speech into thirty- 
two heads ; the latter took eighty pages of foolscap for his. 
The arguments were extremely able and exhaustive, 18 
everything in history, morals and decided cases being 
brought to bear. The case took two full days to argue and 
after careful consideration the court divided equally, the 
Chief Justice and Mr. Justice Upham affirming the right 
of the master and Mr. Justice Allan and Mr. Justice 
Saunders held for the alleged slave. 

The return of Jones to the writ was that Nancy "was 
at the time of her birth and ever since hath been a female 
Negro slave or servant for life born of an African Negro 
slave and before the removal of the said Caleb Jones from 
Mary Land to New Brunswick was and became by purchase 
the lawful and proper Negro slave or servant for life of 
him the said Caleb Jones . . . , that the said Caleb Jones 
in the year of our Lord 1785 brought and imported the 
said . . . Nancy his Negro slave or servant for life into 
the Province of New Brunswick . . . and has always 
hitherto held the said . . . Nancy as his proper Negro, 
slave or servant for life ... or by laws he has good right 
and authority to do. . . ." 19 

17 He was born in Boston in 1753, the son of John Chipman, a member of 
the Bar. Graduating at Harvard, he joined the Boston Bar and practised 
in that City until 1776. After the Peace he went to England and in 1784 
sailed for New Brunswick of which he was appointed Solicitor General. After 
a quarter of a century of successful practice he was appointed 1808 a puisne 
judge of the Supreme Court. He died in February, 1826. 

His services to Nancy Morton were given without fee or hope of reward. 

is That of Mr. Chipman is given in Trans. B. Soc. Can., 1898, pp. 155-184. 

1 9 It will be seen that the return sets up that Jones bought and owned 
the slave and the case was argued on that hypothesis, but the historians say 
that Captain Stair Agnew was the owner. The point is not of importance. 

110 The Slave in Canada 

The Chief Justice based his opinion on what he called 
the "Common Law of the Colonies"— and although that 
expression was ridiculed at the time and has been since, 
there is no difficulty in understanding it. He meant custom 
recognized as law not contained in an express legislative 
enactment. In that sense a modern lawyer will agree that 
he was right. Practically all the English colonies had 
slavery thoroughly recognized and often without or before 
legislation; and all the well known legal maxims asserted 
the cogency of such custom. 20 Mr. Justice Allen considered 
that no human power could justify slavery— and his brother 
Saunders agreed with him. It would seem that these 
judges were concerned with what the law should be, the 
others with what it actually was. 21 

In the result the return was held sufficient and the 
master had his slave. But the decision of the divided 
court had its effect. Agnew reconveyed Nancy to Wil- 
liam Bailey from whom he had bought her and she bound 
herself to serve for fifteen years, then to receive her free- 
dom. 22 The result of this case was that while slavery was 

20 Mos regit legem, Mos pro lege, Leges moribus servient, Consuetudo est 
optimus interpres legum, custom is the life of the law, custom becomes law, 
&c, &c. That slavery was necessary and therefore legal in the American 
Colonies was admitted in the Somerset case. 

21 The modern lawyer, in my opinion, would find no difficulty in coming to 
the same conclusion as the Chief Justice. 

Mr. Chipman in his interesting correspondence with Chief Justice Blowers 
(Trans. B. Soc. Can., 1898, pp. 148 sqq.) admits that if his opponents had hit 
upon the Nova Scotia Statute of 1762 as revised in 1783 "the conclusiveness 
of their reasoning on their principles would have been considered as demon- 
strated. " He adds: "In searching your laws upon this occasion I found this 
clause but carefully avoided mentioning it," which raises a curious question 
in legal ethics. 

22 The reconveyance to Bailey, a quit claim deed, is witnessed by George 
Leonard and Thomas Wetmore and is dated February 22, 1800. The in- 
denture by which Nancy bound herself for fifteen years is dated February 
23, 1800. 

If Dr. Jack is right in his conjecture the argument took place when she 
was 36 and she would receive her freedom when she was 51. Agnew chal- 
lenged Judge Allen for some reflection upon him by the Judge; the challenge 
was declined and Agnew then challenged Street who accepted — and they 
fought a bloodless duel. Street later in 1821 fought a duel with George Lud- 

The Slave in Canada 111 

not formally abolished, it before many years practically 
ceased to exist. 23 

Prince Edward Island was called Isle St. Jean until 
1798. In this island slavery had the same history as in 
the other maritime provinces. Shortly after the peace 
Negro slaves were brought into the Island by their United 
Empire Loyalist masters. As late as 1802 we find re- 
corded the sale of "a Mulatto boy three years old called 
Simon" for £20, Halifax currency, then £18 sterling, and 
a gift of "one Mulatto girl about five years of age named 
Catherine." We also find Governor Fanning (1786-1804), 
freeing his two slaves and giving one of them, Shepherd, a 

In Cape Breton which was separate from 1784 to 1820, 
Negro slaves were found as early as the former date: 
"Cesar Augustus, a slave and Darius Snider, black folks, 
married 4th September 1788," "Diana Bestian a Negro 
girl belonging to Abraham Cuyler Esq" was buried Sep- 
tember 15, 1792 and a Negro slave was killed in 1791 by 
a blow from a spade when trying to force his way into a 
public ball in Sydney. 24 In this province, too, slavery met 
the same fate. 

There is now to be mentioned an interesting series of 
circumstances. 25 During the War of 1812-15 the British 
navy occupied many bays and rivers in United States terri- 

low Wetmore over words which passed on leaving the Court. Wetmore was 
struck in the head and died in a few hours. Street was tried and aquitted. 
One result of this case was that Mr. Justice Upham freed his slaves. His wife 
had six inherited from her father and he himself had some, one a girl born 
in the East Indies whom he had bought from her master in New York, the 
master of a ship, afterwards married a soldier in Colonel Allen's regiment. 

23 What is believed to be the last advertisement for the sale of a slave 
in any maritime province is in the New Brunswick Boyal Gazette of October 
16, 1809 when Daniel Brown offered for sale Nancy a Negro woman, guaran- 
teeing a good title. The latest offer of a reward for the apprehension of a 
runaway slave is said to be in the same paper for July 10, 1816. 

24 For this act the perpetrator was excluded by his masonic lodge; being 
brought to trial before the Supreme Court in August 1792 he was " honourably 
acquitted" and afterwards he was reinstated by his lodge. 

25 Seldom mentioned and never much boasted of in the United States. 

112 The Slave in Canada 

tory and in some cases troops were landed where there was 
a slave population. These forces came into possession of 
many slaves, mostly voluntary fugitives, some seduced and 
some taken by violence from their masters. Admiral 
Cochrane in April 1814 issued a proclamation inviting all 
those who might be disposed to emigrate from the United 
States for the purpose of becoming free settlers in some of 
"His Majesty's Colonies". to come with their families on 
board of the British men of war and offering them the 
choice of joining the British forces or being sent as free 
settlers to a British possession. He did not say " slaves" 
but no one could mistake the meaning. 26 Negroes came 
in droves. Some were taken to the Bahamas and the Ber- 
mudas where their descendants are to be found until this 
day; many were taken to Nova Scotia and New Bruns- 
wick. 27 

When the Treaty of Peace was concluded at Ghent, De- 
cember 24, 1814 the United States did not forget the slaves 
who had got away from the home of liberty. Article 1 pro- 
vided for the delivery up of all places taken by either party 
without carrying away any property captured "or any 
slaves or other private property." The United States 
demanded the restoration of "all slaves and other private 
property which may now be in possession of the forces of 

26 The word. Camouflage may be new. The practice antedated humanity. 

27 There is a record of 371 arriving at St. John from Halifax on May 
25, 1815, by the Romulus, who had taken refuge on board the British Men of 
War in the Chesapeake. The Negro settlement at Loch Lomond was founded 
by them. 

At the Census of 1824, 1421 ll persons of color" were found in New 
Brunswick. The Very Eev. Archdeacon Raymond, an excellent authority, 
thinks most of these "were at one time slaves or the children of slaves, ,y but 
many were not slaves in New Brunswick. 

Those that were brought by Admiral Cochrane to Halifax became a great 
burden to the community. It was proposed in 1815 by the British Govern- 
ment to remove them to a warmer climate, but this scheme does not seem to 
have been carried out. By a census taken in 1816 there was found to be 684 
in Halifax and elsewhere in Nova Scotia. In the winter of 1814-15 they had 
suffered rather severely from small pox and were vaccinated to prevent its 
spread. Some were placed on Melville Island. 

The Slave in Canada 113 

His Britannic Majesty.' ' The British officers refused to 
surrender the slaves contending that the real meaning of 
the treaty did not cover the case. At length in 1818 a 
convention was entered into that it should be left to the 
Emperor of Eussia 28 to decide whether the United States 
by the true intent of Article 1 was entitled to the restitu- 
tion or full compensation for the slaves. 

In 1822 the Emperor decided in favor of the United 
States. Thereupon the next year (1824) a mixed com- 
mission of two commissioners and two arbitrators deter- 
mined the average value to be allowed as compensation; 29 
for slaves taken from Louisiana $580: from Alabama 
Georgia and South Carolina, $390; from Virginia, Mary- 
land and all other States $280. 

The commissioners adjourned for the purpose of en- 
abling evidence to be obtained as to the numbers. Clay 
submitted to the British Government that 3601 slaves had 
been taken away but was willing for a settlement to accept 
the price of 1650. Britain declined, but the commissioners 
failed to agree and finally by diplomacy in 1827 Britain 
agreed to pay £250,000 or $1,204,960 in full for slaves and 
other property. Thus Britain assured the freedom of 
more than 3,000 slaves and paid for them, a fitting prelude 
to the great Act of 1833 whereby she freed 800,000 slaves 
and paid £20,000,000 for the privilege. 30 

28 Presumably because he had the greatest number of serfs in the world 
and was, therefore, the best judge of slaves. 

29 Of course, Britain refused to give up a single fugitive. She could not 
betray a trust even of the humblest. She knew that in ''the land of the free 
and the home of the brave ' ' for the Negro returned to his master, to be brave 
was to incur torture and death and death alone could make him free. 

so The Act (1833) 3, 4 William III, c. 73 (Imp.), passed the House of 
Commons August 7 and received the Royal Assent August 28, 1833; and there 
were no slaves in all the British world after August, 1838. 


General Observations 

The curse of Negro slavery affected the whole English 
speaking world; and that part of the world where it was 
commercially profitable resisted its abolition. The British 
part of this world does not need to assert any higher sense 
of justice and right than had those who lived in the 
Northern States ; and it may well be that had Negro slave 
service been as profitable in Canada as in the Cotton States, 
the heinousness of the sin might not have been more mani- 
fest here than there. Nevertheless we must not too much 
minimize the real merit of those who sought the destruction 
of slavery. Slaves did not pay so well in Canada as in 
Georgia, but they paid. 

It is interesting to note the various ways in which 
slavery was met and finally destroyed. In Upper Canada, 
the existing slaves, 1793, remained slaves but all those 
born thereafter were free, subject to certain conditions of 
service. There was a statutory recognition of the existing 
status and provision for its destruction in the afterborn. 
This continued slavery though it much mitigated its sever- 
ity and secured its downfall in time. But there were slaves 
in Upper Canada when the Imperial Act of 1833 came in 
force. The Act of 1793 was admittedly but a compromise 
measure ; and beneficial as it was it was a paltering with sin. 

In Lower Canada, there was no legislation, and slavery 
was never formally abolished until the Imperial Act of 
1833; but the courts decided in effect if not in form that 
a master had no rights over his slave, and that is tanta- 
mount to saying that where there is no master there is no 
slave. The reasoning in these cases as in the Somerset 
case may not recommend itself to the lawyer but the effect 
is undoubtedly, " Slaves cannot live in Lower Canada.' ' 


The Slave in Canada 115 

In Nova Scotia, there was no decision that slavery did 
not exist. Indeed the course of procedure presupposed 
that it did exist, but the courts were astute to find means 
of making it all but impossible for the alleged master to 
succeed ; and slavery disappeared accordingly. 

In New Brunswick the decision by a divided court was 
in favor of the master; but juries were of the same calibre 
and sentiments in New Brunswick as in Nova Scotia and 
the same results were to be anticipated, if Nova Scotian 
means were used ; and the slave owners gave way. 

In the old land, judicial decision destroyed slavery on 
the British domain ; but conscience and sense of justice and 
right impelled its destruction elsewhere by statute; and 
the same sense of justice and right impelled the Parliament 
of Great Britain to recompense the owners for their prop- 
erty thus destroyed. If there be any more altruistic act of 
any people in any age of the world's history I have failed 
to hear or read of it. 

In the United States, slavery was abolished as a war 
measure. Lincoln hating slavery as he did would never 
have abolished it, had he not considered it a useful war 
measure. No compensation was paid, of course. 1 Every- 
where slavery was doomed and in one way or another it 
has met a deserved fate. 

1 1 had with the late Hon. Warwick Hough of St. Louis, Missouri, who 
had been an officer in the Southern Army, several conversations on the subject 
of slavery. He gave it as his firm conviction that, had the South succeeded in 
the Civil War, it would shortly have itself abolished slavery and sought re- 
admission to the Union. His proposition was that the power and influence 
of the planter class were waning, while the manufacturers, merchants and the 
like were increasing in number and influence and they would have for their 
own protection abolished slavery. I have not met a Northerner or a Canadian 
who agreed with this view; but a few Southerners have expressed to me their 
general concurrence with my friend's proposition. 


Acadia, Slavery in, 97 

Allen, Mr. Justice, opinion re slavery 

in N. B., 110 
American prisoners in Revolutionary 

War, treatment of, 22 (n) 
Anderson, John, refugee slave in U. 

C, case of, 93, 94, 95 
Anthon, Dr., his Panis slave, 2 (n) 
Antoninus Pius, law re slaves, 9 (n) 
Arbitration between Great Britain 

and United States, re refugee slaves, 

Augustus, Claudius, law re slaves, 9 

de Barner, Major, complained of in 

Province of Quebec for slave steal- 
ing, 16, 17 

Bird, Captain Henry, captures La 
Force Settlement (1780), 19 (n) 

Blackburn, Thornton, refugee slave, 
case of, 83, 84 

Blaney v. Sullivan, 45, 46 

Blowers, Salter Sampson, Attorney 
General, Nova Scotia, policy re al- 
leged slaves, 106; as Chief Justice 
N. S., 107 

Brant, Captain Joseph, Indian Chief, 
his slaves, 69 (n) 

Campbell, 'Col., report on slaves 

brought to Canada by Indians and 

others (1784), 20 
Cape Breton, slaves in, 111 
Carib slave (1732), 4 
Carleton, Sir Guy (See Dorchester, 

Cataraqui (See Kingston) 
Chambly, slaves at, 32 
De Ghampigny, Intendant of New 

France, suggests importation of 

Negro slaves (1688), 1 

(i 'Charles, ' ' Panis slave, mutiny and 

banishment of to Martinique, 5 
re Charlotte, a Negress, 46 
Chinook Indians, slavery among, 7 
Christianity and slavery, 9 (n) 
Claus, Colonel, report on slaves 

brought into Canada by Indians, 

etc., 20 
Cole, Francis, "Yankee boy," white 

slave, 24, 25 
Cole, Sarah, Pennsylvania girl, white 

slave, 21, 22, 23 
Conquest of Canada (1760). Articles 

of Capitulation, 6, 6 (n), 11 
Constantine 's law re slavery, 9, 9 (n) 
Cooley, Chloe, a Negro slave, case of 

in U. C, 55 
Coutume de Paris (See law, French- 
Cowper, William, the poet, England 

and slavery, 12 (n) 
Cuthbert, M.P.P., petition re slaves, 

L. C, 48 

Davis, John, the last survivor of slav- 
ery in Canada, 60 (n) 
Denonville, Governor of New France, 
suggests importation of Negro 
slaves (1668), 1 
Despin, Joseph, complaint of kidnap- 
ping slaves in Province of Quebec, 
16, 17 
District of Quebec, Slaves in, 63 

Montreal, Slaves in, 63 

District, Eastern, Slaves in, 63, 64 

, Midland, Slaves in, 63, 64, 66, 

66 (n), 67 (See Kingston) 

, Nassau (Home), 63, 64 (n) 

-, Hesse (Western), 71 

Dorchester, Lord (Sir Guy Carleton), 
complaints to, 16, 17; orders to 
Haldimand, 31; suspends importa- 




tion of slaves, 35 (n) ; refuses 
American demand for refugee 
slaves, 102, 103; his contention as 
to their status, 103 (n) 
Drake's History of the Indians of 
North America, quoted, 2 (n) 

Eastern District (See District, East- 

de Francheville, Mme., her slave 
hanged for arson (1734), 5 

Galinee's Narrative, quoted, 7 (n) 

Garneau 's History of Canada, quoted, 1 

Gosselin, Abbe, quoted, 5 

Gray, Robert Isaac Dey, Solicitor- 
General Upper Canada, opposes Bill 
to allow importation of slaves into 
U. C, 59 (n), sets his slaves free 
by his will, 60 (n) 

Guinea, Slaves from, 2 

Hadrian 's Law re slavery, 9 
Haldimand, Sir Frederick, Governor 

of Quebec, 15, 17 (n), 18, 19, 23; 

orders from Dorchester, 31 
Halifax, founded, 97, slaves in, 97, 98, 

99, 100, 101, 107 (n), 112 (n) 
Hallam's Middle Ages, referred to, 

13 (n) 
Happy, Jesse, refugee slave, case of 

in U. CL, 88, 90, 91 
Hardwicke, Lord Chancellor (See 

Yorke, Sir Philip) 
Harris v. Cooper, 75, 76, 77 
Henry, Alexander, request to seize 

and sell fugitive slave, 15 
Hocquart, Gilles, Intendant of New 

France, Ordinance re slaves (1738), 

4; ordinance re enfranchisement, 5 
Holdsworth 's History of English Law, 

cited, 13 (n) 
Holt, Lord Chief Justice, dictum as to 

slavery in England, 11 
Hough, Hon. Warwick (St. Louis), 

views as to result upon Southern 

slavery had South been successful 

in Civil War, 115 (n) 

Indian slaves (See Panis) 
Indians, Chinook (See Chinook In- 

capture and enslavement of 

whites by, 3, 17, 18, 21, 22, 24, 
26 (n) 

capture and enslavement of Ne- 

groes by, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 26, 
29, 30 
— Micmac, slavery among, 7 (n) 

Jameson, Robert Sympson, Attorney 
General, Upper Canada; opinion re 
refugee slaves in U. C, 84, 85 

Joanne, Captain, his Carib slave, 4 

Johnson, Sir John, Superintendent 
General of Indian affairs in Can- 
ada, report as to slaves brought in- 
to Canada (1781), 19, 20, 29, 30 

re Jude, a Negress, 46 

Juvenal, quoted, 8 (n) 

Kane, Paul, description of Indian 

Slavery, 7, 8; paintings, 7 (n) 
King, Joseph, petition to Haldimand, 

17 (n) 
Kingsford's History of Canada, 

quoted, 4 (n) 
Kingston, slaves at, 32, 34, 65, 67 

(and see District, Midland) 
Kirke, Sir David, sells first Negro 

slave in Quebec (1628), 1 

La Fontaine, Sir L. H., paper on slav- 
ery in Canada, 1 (n) ; 2 (n) 
La Force, Agnes, story of emigration 

and capture (1780), 17, 18, 19, 20 
La Longue Pointe, register of slaves, 6 
La Salle's Voyage (1669^70), 7 (n) 
Law, English, re villeins, 3 (n) ; 12, 
105 (n), re slaves, 3, 11, 12, 13 

, English Colonies, re slaves, 13, 


, French-Canadian, re slaves, 3, 

7, 8, 10, 13 (n) 

, International, re slaves, 2 

, Roman (Civil), re slaves, 12 (n) 

, Scottish, re slaves, 12 (n) 


The Slave in Canada 

Lawsuits concerning alleged slaves 
(See titles, Somerset v. Stewart; 
Poiree v. Lagard; Hoyle v. Fisher; 
Smith v. McFarlane; Blaney v. Sul- 
livan; re Charlotte; re Jude; re 
Eobin alias Robert; Rex v. Jones) 
Legislation on Slavery 

Great Britain, 51, 113 
Lower Canada, 43, 47, 48 
Upper Canada, 54, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60' 
Nova Scotia, 99, 106, 108 
United States, 58 (n), 78 
New England, New York, New 
Jersey, etc., 58 (n) 
Lescarbot's History of New France, 

quoted, 7 (n) 
Ludlow, George Duncan, Chief Justice 
of New Brunswick, appointed, 105; 
judgment re slavery in N. B., 108- 
109, 110 

Mabane, Mr. Justice Adam, instructed 
to prevent white slavery, 23 

Madagascar, boy from, first slave sold 
in Quebec (1628), 1 

Mansfield, Lord Chief Justice, judg- 
ment in Somerset v. Stewart, 11, 12 

Marius' Law re slaves, 9 

Micmac Indians, slavery among, 7 (n) 

Milton, John, quoted, 13 (n) 

Monk, James, Attorney General at 
Quebec, report on charge of slave 
stealing, 16; Chief Justice at Mon- 
treal, decision on slavery, 46, 47, 50 

Montreal, slaves at, 14, 20, 21, 29, 30, 
31, 32, 33, 63; last public sale of 
slaves at, 107 (n) 

Morris v. Henderson, aged Negro 
gives evidence in, 65 (n) 

Mosely, Solomon, Negro refugee, at- 
tempted extradition to U. S. and 
rescue of (1837), 85, 86, 87 

Murray, Sir James, Governor at Que- 
bec, desires slaves, 13, 14 

McKee, Col. Alexander, his runaway 
slave, 62 (n) 

Neif, writ of, 106 (n) 

New Brunswick, created a separate 
Province, 102, 108; slaves in, 108, 

Niagara, slaves at, 5, 32, 33, 68, 69, 
• 70 (and see District, Nassau, Home) 

Nova Scotia, slaves in, 97sqq; chap. 
vii, passim) (and see Halifax) 

Osgoode, William, Chief Justice of 
Upper Canada, Chloe Cooley case, 
55 (n) ; Chief Justice in Lower 
Canada, 50 (n) 

Panet, P. L., M.P.P., petitions As- 
sembly Lower Canada re slaves, 47, 

Panis (Pawnee) slaves, 1 (n), 2, 2 
(n), 3, 4, 5, 6; 33, 34; 45; 64, 64 
(n), 70 (n), 71 

Papineau, Joseph, M.P.P., petitions 
Assembly Lower Canada re slaves, 
47, 48 

Paul, St., and slavery, 9 (n) 

Plato, a Negro slave, 31 

Poiree v. Lagard, 35 

Pollock and Maitland's History Eng- 
lish Law, referred to, 13 (n) 

Powell, William Dummer, Chief Just- 
ice of Upper Canada, 17, 18, 19, 20, 
21, 22; and John Davis the f reed- 
man, 60 (n) ; trial of Jack York, 
72; trial of a black boy, 73 (n) 

Prince Edward Island, slaves in, 102, 

Proudfoot, William, Vice Chancellor, 
referred to, 9 (n) 

Quebec, ''Government" of, formed 
(1763), 11 

Randot, Jacques, Intendant of New 
France ; ordinance re slaves (1709), 3 

Rex v. Jones, 10-8, 109, 110 

Rex v. Philip Turner, 73, 74 

Rex v. Jack York, 72 

Riddell, Reverend Archibald, " Cove- 
nanter," experiences as a white 
slave, 105 (n) 



Ridout, Thomas, capture by and life 
among Indians, 26 (n) 

Eitchie, Thomas, introduces bill re 
slavery, N. S., 108 

re Robin, alias Robert, a Black, 49, 50 

Robinson, (Sir) John Beverley, At- 
torney-General Upper Canada, opin- 
ion re refugee slaves, 81, 82, 84 

Robinson, Christopher, M.P.P., intro- 
duces bill to import slaves into U. 
C, 59 (n) 

Russell, Peter, administrator of Up- 
per Canada (1798), 59 (n) ; Chloe 
Cooley case, 55 (n) ; his slaves, 67 

St. John's, slaves at, 32 
Saunders, Mr. Justice (New Bruns- 
wick), opinion on slavery in N. B., 
1 ' Servants, ' ' slaves reported as, 32, 34 
Sherman, Prof. (Yale), Eoman Law, 

etc., quoted, 9 (n) 
Sierra Leone, refugee slaves sent to 

from N. S., 103 
Simcoe, Lieutenant-Governor John 
Graves (U. C), hatred of slavery, 
55, 58 (n) ; report on Upper Can- 
ada legislature re slaves (1793), 
56; address on same, 58 (n) 
Slavers, Boston, 25 (n) 
Slaves, passim 

Baptism of, 6, 14, 15, 66, 69, 

104 (n) 
Marriage of, 14, 33, 34, 69; in 

Virginia, 76, 76 (n) 
Burial of, 6, 67, 69 
Sale of, 1, 2, 3, 4; 20, 21; 33, 34, 
35; 41, 42, 44, 45; 67, 68; 98, 
99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104; last 
public sale at Montreal, 107 
(n) ; last in Maritime Provin- 
ces, 107 (n) ; last in Prince 
Edward Island, 111 
Criminal, 5, 6, 25, 26, 68, 72, 73, 

73 (n) 
Enfranchisement of, 5, 44, 45, 50, 
60, 60 (n) ; 64, 70, 102, 104, 
110, 111, 114 

Stolen, 20, 34 

Runaway, 3, 5, 6, 11, 15, 36, 37, 
38, 40, 41, 44 (n) ; 51, 56 (n) ; 
69, 101, 102 
Refugee, 51, 52; 61, 62, 62 (n), 
74; chap. VI, passim; 102, 
103; 111, 112, payment for by 
Great Britain, 113 
Extradition of, 51, 52 
White, 21, 22, 23, 24, 24 (n), 26 

(n), 27 
Eskimo, 25 (n) 
Smith v. McFarlane, 45 
Somerset v. Stewart, 11, 12, 13, 
Sorel, Slaves at, 32 
Strange, (Sir) Thomas Andrew, Chief 
Justice of Nova Scotia, policy re al- 
leged slaves, 105, 106 

Talbot, Sir Charles (Lord Chancellor 

Talbot), opinion re Colonial slaves, 

12 (n) 
Three Rivers, Slaves at, 16, 33 
Thwaites, Dr. Reuben Gold, his edition 

of Long's Travels, quoted, 2 (n) 
Toronto (York), slaves at, 67 (See 

District, Nassau) 
Treaty of 1686, England and France, 

2, 2 (n), 3 

1763, Great Britain and France, 

11, 11 (n) 

1783, Definitive Treaty, G. B. & 

U.S., 26 (n), 49, 49 (n) 

1814, Ghent, G. B. & U. S., 112 

1818, (Convention) G. B. & U. 

S., 113 

Tuscarora Indians, intermixture with 
Negroes, 69 (n) 

Underground Railway, 79 

Upham, Mr. Justice, of New Bruns- 
wick, opinion re slavery in N. B., 
109, 110 

Van Ness, Roger, a Negro slave, 31 
Vinogradoff, Paul, investigations con- 
cerning villenage in England, 12, 
13 (n) 


The Slave in Canada 

Warwick, M.P.P., presents petition re 
slavery in Nova Scotia, 108 

Washington, George, runaway slave, 
78 (n) ; demand for return of refu- 
gee slaves, 102; demand refused, 

West Indies, slaves from, 2, 4, 5; 
Carib slaves (1732), 4 

White, John, Attorney-General Upper 
Canada, promotes legislation re 
slavery, 56 

Whitney, Eli, his cotton gin fastened 
slavery on South, 79 

York, slaves at (See Toronto) 

York, Jack, Negro burglar (See Eex 

v. Jack York) 
Yorke, Sir Philip, opinion re Colonial 

slaves, 12 (n) 

Boston Public Library 
Central Library, Copley Square 

Division of 
Reference and Research Services 

The Date Due Card in the pocket indi- 
cates the date on or before which this 
book should be returned to the Library. 

Please do not remove cards from this 

£81 5881 

. f •■■ .-v v»».-,V>.»i